Australia tries to recover bodies of 3 from US wildfire crew

Australian crews are working to recover the bodies of three U.S. firefighters, helping fight an unprecedented wildfire season that has killed more than 30 people in total.


World News

January 24, 2020 - 3:54 PM

People are seen embracing at Numeralla Rural Fire Brigade near the scene of a water tanker plane crash on January 23, 2020 in Cooma, Australia. Three American firefighters have have died after their C-130 water tanker plane crashed while battling a bushfire near Cooma in southern NSW this afternoon. Photo by (Jenny Evans/Getty Images/TNS)

SYDNEY (AP) — A tanker plane that crashed and killed its three American crew members as they fought wildfires in Australia had just dropped liquid to suppress the flames, investigators said Friday.

The crash Thursday killed Capt. Ian H. McBeth, 44, of Great Falls, Montana; First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, of Buckeye, Arizona; and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr., 43, of Navarre, Florida, their employer, Canada-based Coulson Aviation, said in a statement.

The deaths came during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia’s southeast. More than 30 people have died, including three Australian volunteer firefighters.

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