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Editor’s note: Statement released by National Council for Fire and Emergency Services, AFAC and the National Aerial Fire Fighting Centre (NAFC) Australia
January 23, 2020 – On behalf of the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services, AFAC and the National Aerial Fire Fighting Centre (NAFC), we offer our sincere condolences to the families of the crew of the Large Air Tanker that crashed in the Snowy Monaro area in New South Wales this afternoon. Our thoughts are also with emergency service colleagues in New South Wales, across Australia and overseas who have been affected by this incident.
AFAC CEO Stuart Ellis said ‘All at AFAC and NAFC are deeply saddened and shocked by the news that a C130 Large Air Tanker crashed in southern NSW this afternoon during firefighting operations. Our hearts go out to the family of the three crew involved.
‘Such a tragedy highlights the challenging conditions for all aerial firefighting pilots and our respect and gratitude rests with all pilots who are flying supporting ground operations across Australia.’
Richard Alder, General Manager of NAFC said ‘Coulson are a very well-respected aviation company, which NAFC has worked with for many years. Our thoughts are with the families of the crew, Coulson Aviation and all our aerial firefighting colleagues during this difficult time.’
The aircraft was a Lockheed C-130Q Hercules, which was contracted to the NSW Rural Fire Service, through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) from Coulson Aviation. The aircraft formed part of NAFC’s national fleet, which now comprises over 160 services this season.
C-130 firefighting aircraft operating in New South Wales and Victoria have been grounded until further notice.
Investigations are underway through the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and NSW Police.