Coulson Aviation fire tanker N134CG performs a touch-and-go landing at Sacramento Intl. Airport in May 2019. The C-130 Hercules were based at nearby McClellan Field (former McClellan AFB) for the 2019 California fire season. (PHOTO COURTESY TALBERT REESE)

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau has sent a team to New South Wales to investigate the site where a B.C.-owned air tanker crashed while trying to help fight wildfires.

Captain Ian H. McBeth of Great Falls, Montana, First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson of Buckeye, Arizona and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. of Navarre, Florida were all killed in the crash.

The plane, owned by Coulson Aviation of Port Alberni, was loaded with fire retardant and headed to Peak View, near Cooma, NSW, to help fight one of several “emergency warning” fires that cropped up in the area. The area fire crews lost contact with the aircraft, and shortly after, a fireball was seen in the area.

Investigators will analyze recorded data, review weather information and interview any witnesses.

Coulson Aviation has sent a response team as well to assist, and has grounded its fleet of tankers until the investigation is done.

WATCH: Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia, killing three on board

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of everyone involved in this incident,” Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson said in a news release on Thursday. “On behalf of all British Columbians, I extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the flight crew and to the staff of Coulson Aviation.”

Forty-five firefighters from B.C. are among the 172 Canadians deployed to Australia to help during a catastrophic wildfire season.

Coulson Aviation has had aircraft in Australia for a number of years, beginning with their Sikorsky S-61 helicopters, and has helped fight wildfires there for the past few years.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Australia fires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney Community Association aims to generate enthusiasm for OCP review

First of several community engagement sessions starts March 1

Coast Capital Savings in Saanich to re-open after COVID-19 scare

The branch closed ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Extra precautions against COVID-19 put in place as tourism season arrives

Airports and border services follow federal cues to minimize spread of coronavirus

Court hears of moments before Victoria father stabbed to death in the middle of Hillside Avenue

Sentencing hearing for Daniel Creagh, charged with manslaughter, began Friday

Oak Bay’s first heritage conservation area is in the books

Councillor excited to see how HCA protects character of The Prospect

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read