LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Three American firefighters were killed when a water tanker crashed while fighting wildfires in Australia.
The plane went down in the snowy mountains of New South Wales, about 70 miles from Australia’s capital.READ MORE: Housing Crisis: Newsom Signs Measures To Allow For More Duplexes, Apartments Near Transit
The victims were identified as 44-year-old Capt. Ian H. McBeth of Great Falls, Montana, 42-year-old First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson of Buckeye, Arizona and 43-year-old flight engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. of Navarre, Florida.
Australian officials held a news conference following the deadly crash where the leaders said the tragedy shows the current condition’s danger.
The aircraft, a C-130 owned by Canadian company Coulson Aviation with the nickname of Zeus, is a water tanker that has fought fires in Southern California.READ MORE: Dog Flu Spreading Quickly Across LA County
Last August, the plane was in San Diego where Ramona-based pilots trained on it. The tanker can carry up to 4,000 gallons of flame retardant.
Coulson issued a statement Tuesday night that read, in part:
“The aircraft had departed Richmond, New South Wales with a load of retardant and was on a firebombing mission. The accident is reported to be extensive and we are deeply saddened to confirm there were three fatalities.”MORE NEWS: LA County Announces Re-Homing Program To Help Keep Pets Out Of Shelters
At least 32 people have died in the fires since September.