Sydney: (HRNW) A large water-bombing plane crashed while fighting fires southwest of Sydney on Thursday, killing all three US crew on board, Australian officials said.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said authorities lost contact with the Canada-owned C-130 Hercules aircraft, which was operating in the Snowy Monaro region, shortly before 1:30 pm (0230 GMT) Thursday.
Fitzsimmons said all three people killed in the crash were residents of the United States, one of several countries that have sent crews of specialist firefighters to help battle Australia’s devastating bushfires.
“Our hearts are with all those that are suffering what is the loss of three remarkable, well-respected crew that have invested so many decades of their life into firefighting and fire management,” he said.
The incident brought the death toll in Australia’s bushfires to at least 32 since the crisis began in September.