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

UPDATED with VIDEO and PHOTOS: One person treated for minor burns in Crofton fire Monday morning

Firefighters were called out at 7 a.m. to a blaze at the Twin Gables Motel

Town and Chamber agree to two-year pilot project for heritage investment app

The app will give visitors a visual guide to Ladysmith’s heritage and show investment opportunities

Mid-Isle Soccer’s Girl Power program empowers girls to build their dreams

Girl Power celebrated Canadian soccer sta, Christine Sinclair’s new world record for career goals

Council approves two retail cannabis stores for Ladysmith

Their applications are now in the hands of the provincial government

Ladysmith Heritage Awards honour commitments to preserving local history

Four awards were given at the first ever Ladysmith Heritage Awards ceremony

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

UPDATE: Two missing scout leaders found near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, prior to search for two leaders who’d gone for help

Most Read