Aircraft Was Fighting Fires in Monaro, New South Wales.
Three Americans are reported dead in the crash of a C-130 Hercules, registration N134CG, firefighting aircraft in the Monaro area of New South Wales, Australia.
The Associated Press reported that, “New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said, ‘The only thing I have from the field reports are that the plane came down, it’s crashed and there was a large fireball associated with that crash.’ The Commissioner also told the AP that, “Unfortunately, all we’ve been able to do is locate the wreckage and the crash site and we have not been able to locate any survivors”.
The aircraft, Tanker 134, was operated by the Canadian-owned Coulson Aviation company. It was previously based in Ramona, California in the United States before deploying to Australia to assist in fighting the catastrophic wildfires that have ravaged that nation for weeks.
Coulson Aviation was founded in 1985 and began providing aerial fire suppression services to the U.S. Forest Service five years later in 1990 as Coulson Aviation USA. The company purchased its first large, four-engine turboprop Lockheed C-130 Hercules firefighting aircraft in 2013. As of 2016 the company operated four C-130s.
The ATSB will investigate the collision with terrain involving a Lockheed C-130 Large Air Tanker near Cooma, NSW this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/q8LYgmSeik
— ATSB (@atsbgovau) January 23, 2020
As a further result of the massive wildfires in Australia, Canberra Airport, located in the country’s capital, was closed Thursday and residents of Canberra were told to seek shelter from the massive wildfires.
Reports also say that following the crash of the Coulson Aviation C-130, named “Zeus”, other firefighting aircraft in the region were grounded.