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

The great Brent Carver has passed away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors, has passed away at home in Cranbrook

History Centre launches walking tours of historic downtown Cranbrook

The Cranbrook History Centre is about to begin a series of Guided… Continue reading

Metal detector rings true for Cranbrook couple

A Cranbrook couple went looking for a missing ring after reading a plea on Facebook

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

A memorial disc golf tour of the East Kootenay

This past weekend, a few friends and I embarked on a weekend… Continue reading

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

North Okanagan man chains himself to tree in protest of construction

Crews began work clearing space for a new facility Thursday, Aug. 6

VIDEO: A B.C business used robots to bring down concrete walls

Walco Industries is the only firm on Vancouver Island to use specialized robots for hydro-demolition

As CERB winds down, labour group asks Liberals to rethink EI

The government estimates four million people will be moved onto EI after CERB ends

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Practical fashion: Local designers make supplies for Nelson dentists

Surgical caps and gowns have been in short supply for dentists during the pandemic

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Most Read