Australia NSW firefighting plane crash probe begins
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The bodies of three US firefighters who died when their water-bombing aircraft crashed in southern NSW have been recovered with authorities now focused on determining what caused the fatal incident.
The families of captain Ian McBeth, first officer Paul Clyde Hudson and flight engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr are expected to arrive in Sydney this weekend along with the owners of the C-130 Hercules which was operated by Canadian firm Coulson Aviation.
The C-130 Large Air Tanker that crashed while fighting NSW fires — what we know about the plane
Australia's devastating bushfire season has claimed the lives of three more people — the crew of a large aerial water bomber being leased from a US company. The Large Air Tanker, a Lockheed C-130, went down near Cooma, in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains on Thursday, killing the crew from American aerial fire-fighting company Coulson Aviation.
Pictures: Australia's bushfire emergency
The water tanker crashed on Thursday afternoon just after it had dropped fire retardant along a ridge at Peak View northeast of Cooma, Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Greg Hood said on Friday.
The safety bureau boss revealed the kilometre-long crash site was "complicated" because it was in an active bushfire area.
ATSB investigators on Saturday will make the site safe by securing aviation fuel, the magnesium wheels and any unexploded oxygen bottles.
C-130 large air tanker crash hurts NSW bushfire fight, but RFS says it will 'adapt'
Firefighting capabilities will be hampered in the short-term across NSW after the tragic Hercules air tanker crash yesterday, but the Rural Fire Service says they have enough backup to fill the cracks.A Lockheed C-130 Hercules working in the Snowy Monaro area came down around 2:00pm yesterday, killing three US aerial firefighting specialists.
They'll then locate the plane's voice recorder and take it back to Canberra "to see what the exchanges may have been in the cockpit during those final moments", Mr Hood told reporters.
Investigators will map the site and speak with witnesses who saw the crash.
"We have upwards of 500 firefighting aircraft active across the country from about 150 companies and several different countries," Mr Hood said.
"So if there are lessons to be learned from this particular accident it's really important that Australia and the world learn them."
The death toll from NSW's unprecedented bushfire season climbed to 25 on Friday evening after the body of a 59-year-old man was found in a home on the state's South Coast.
Microsoft News Australia has partnered with the giving platform Benevity tofor WIRES, BlazeAid, and Taronga Conservation Society. These organisations provide relief for communities and wildlife devastated by bushfires. You can help by , and for the latest news visit
NSW bushfire air tanker crash victims honoured at memorial service .
Three Americans killed in an air tanker crash while fighting a bushfire in New South Wales are described as heroes who "paid the ultimate sacrifice" during a memorial service in Sydney. Captain Ian McBeth, first officer Paul Hudson and flight engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr died when their C-130 Large Air Tanker crashed while fighting a bushfire north-east of Cooma on January 23.Wives and children of two of the three fallen firefighters attended the private service which was held inside an RAAF hangar at Richmond air base.
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