23 January 2020

Three people dead after firefighting air tanker crashes in Snowy Monaro

| Michael Weaver
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Air tanker.

The RFS lost contact with a C-130 Hercules, similar to this one. Photo: Facebook NSW RFS.

UPDATE 5:20 pm The Australian Defence Force is helping locate the wreckage of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules firefighting air tanker that crashed this afternoon claiming the three lives of its American crew.

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the plane had deployed from the Richmond RAAF base with a load of fire retardant.

It was headed for the Good Good fire ground north-east of Cooma.

Mr Fitzsimmons said the loss “hurts deeply”.

The aircraft was contracted through American aerial firefighting company Coulson Aviation. They have grounded their fleet as a precaution and mark of respect.

UPDATE 4:45 pm NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed three people have lost their lives after a large air tanker contracted to the RFS crashed in the Snowy Monaro area earlier today.

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said all three occupants were US citizens. Police and the ATSB are investigating the crash and undertaking recovery operations.

It was earlier reported that the aircraft, a Lockheed EC-130 Hercules, registration N134CG, was carrying out a search on the Good Good fire ground north-east of Cooma.

Unverified flight path of the missing plane

The unverified flight path of the missing C-130 air tanker. Image: Flightpath24.

UPDATE 4:00 pm The NSW Rural Fire Service lost contact with the air tanker fighting a blaze north-east of Cooma in the Snowy Monaro area.

“Local ground crews indicate the aircraft may have crashed,” the RFS said. “A number of helicopters are in the area carrying out a search.”

“No further information is available at this time.”

There are reports the aircraft, a Lockheed EC-130 Hercules, registration N134CG from RAAF Base Richmond was carrying out a search on the Good Good fire ground north-east of Cooma.It is believed there were three people on board.

There is an emergency warning in place for a blaze burning towards Adaminaby in the Snowy Monaro region.

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on About Regional.

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