Airplane C-130 was involved in firefighting in the Australian state of New South Wales.
“We still don’t know what caused the fall. We simply lost contact with the device”, explained Shane Fitzsimmons, head of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) in New South Wales.
Fitzsimmons said the three dead were US citizens who were part of the state’s fire-fighting component. “The firefighters’ fraternity is like a family, a small family, and the crew were well known, not just here in Australia”, he said. The RFS official said it “took some time” to locate the remains of the C-130, explaining that the fall caused a large fireball that remains active.
The aircraft belonged to the company Coulson Aviation, which in recent years has been providing aerial fire-fighting services in New South Wales and, as a precaution, decided to suspend the flights of all its large aircraft. “The service is suspended pending an analysis to ensure that there can be no additional problems with other devices.
The military is helping with this assessment”, he explained, admitting that this will impact the state’s fire-fighting capabilities.
With the plane crash, the total number of deaths from the fires increased to 32. However, flights to and from Canberra airport remain conditioned, with much of the region covered in a thick cloud of smoke, with authorities explaining that the fire in the region is “within containment lines”, despite continuing to pose a risk.
Authorities have already issued calls for companies and institutions in Canberra to reduce air conditioners in order to reduce the impact of smoking. An appeal was also made to reduce energy consumption until the beginning of the night due to the pressure that the “extreme climate” is having on the power grid.
In New South Wales there are still three emergency level fires, of about 85 active, with brown rain, due to dust and smoke, falling in Melbourne. Several Australian Open meetings have already been delayed due to conditions.