SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Flags were flying at half-staff today across the state of New South Wales, in honor of the 3 American firefighters who were tragically killed yesterday. Coulson Aviation and the Australian media have released the victims’ names today: Captain Ian H. McBeth (44), First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson (42) and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. (43) are the 3 firefighters who were killed when their C-130 Hercules Air Tanker crashed in southern New South Wales on Thursday, while battling bushfires in the Snowy Mountain Area.
The C-130 Air Tanker crashed near Cooma, while battling bushfires in the Snowy Monaro area, killing its 3 crew members on Thursday afternoon.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told radio host Chris Smith the men had dedicated months to protecting towns in New South Wales from bushfires. She also said that Australia will honor the 3 firefighters with flags flying at half-staff on Friday.
“It’s the least we can do to demonstrate our deep gratitude.
“The Americans, the Canadians… they’re all embedded in our operations so I know many of their countrymen and women will be particularly affected.”
Coulson Aviation released the names and photos of the 3 crew members, saying:
“Our deepest condolences are with the family and friends of our fallen heroes.”
“Yesterday we lost three members of our Coulson Aviation Family in Australia onboard one of our C-130 aircraft.”
“We have the incredible job of fighting fires around the world and we take pride in this responsibility. “
“Right now, our hearts are with the crew’s family and friends and our Coulson Family suffering in the loss of these three remarkable and well-respected crew-members.”
A minute of silence has been held for the 3 American aerial fire crew killed fighting Australian bushfires:
The crash is still under investigation, but it’s possible the C-130 Air Tanker broke up in mid-air, due to extreme turbulence. Or the pilot could have been disorientated by smoke, Aviation Expert Tim Collins said to 9News Australia.
The C-130 Air Tanker crashed shortly after releasing a load of retardant over a bushfire in Snowy Monaro, investigators said Friday.
NSW police confirmed on Friday that they have found the bodies of the 3 American aerial firefighters, Head Topics reports.
(Head photo: Airman Magazine / Flickr)