Three firefighters die in Australia as water tanker plane crashes

The Canary

A water tanker plane fighting wildfires in Australia has crashed killing three US crew members, officials have said.

The C-130 Hercules plane went down in the Snowy Monaro region in the state of New South Wales (NSW).

The state’s premier Gladys Berejiklian expressed her condolences to the families of the three crew members, who were flown in as part of an international assistance effort to fight the devastating wildfires.

“Our thoughts & heartfelt condolences are with their families & the tight knit firefighting community,” Berejiklian tweeted.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters the plane had crashed amid “a large fireball”.

He confirmed all three crew members aboard were US residents.

“Unfortunately, all we’ve been able to do is locate the wreckage and the crash site and we have not been able to locate any survivors,” he said.

Berejiklian said more than 1,700 firefighters and volunteers were currently fighting fires in the state as the Australian wildfire crisis – which began in September – continues.

Canberra Airport was closed on 23 January owing to nearby blazes, and residents south of Australia’s capital were told to seek shelter.

Five fires burning in NSW were being described as at an “emergency warning level”.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us