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

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

‘A long way to go’: UNBC hosts Moose Hide Campaign gathering on Feb. 24

The event is a part of a movement to stand up against violence inflicted on women and children

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Most Read