3 fatalities after Canadian aircraft crashes in Australia

Hanna Lalonde / January 23rd, 2020

Australian wildfires have burned over 18 million hectares.
(Martin Snicer / Flickr)

Coulson Aviation’s aircraft – a Lockheed C-130 – crashed during a firebombing mission in Australia. The aircraft was carrying 3 American team members who died in the accident. The aircraft departed from Richmond in New South Wales before crashing into the ground near Coome, Australia.

David Haslam, Director of Communications for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations acknowledged Canadian impact in the firefighting efforts.

“To date, we’ve sent 45 firefighting staff to assist in the effort and right now 7 have returned; there’s 38 on the ground.” David Haslam, Director of Communications for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Haslam said British Columbians are happy to send more firefighters to Australia to help with relief efforts. Coulson Aviation have also said they are sending a team to Australia to help with emergency services.

“The accident is reported to be extensive and we are deeply saddened to confirm there were 3 fatalities….our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three crew members onboard. ” Coulson Aviation, in a press release.

BC’s Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Doug Donaldson, said the crash occurred before 1:30pm Australian time. The aircraft was helping fight fires in the Snowy Monaro area in New South Wales.

“The international firefighting community has rallied this year to help Australia during its catastrophic fire season. So far, 45 BC Wildfire Service staff have been deployed to Australia as part of the contingent of 172 Canadian firefighting personnel.” Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, smoke from the Australian wildfires has travelled to New Zealand and parts of South America. The UN said that since September of 2019, approximately 18 million hectares of land have been burned, impacting millions of animals. The UN said fires can also cause mental trauma for victims; loss of power and evacuations caused extreme stress for the impacted communities. Alongside human fatalities, an estimated half a billion animals have perished from the flames.

Here are some of the impacts of the Australian Wildfires.
(Tiana Mohebi / BCIT News)