3 U.S. Firefighters Die in Plane Crash While Battling Australia Fires
Three U.S. firefighters gave their lives battling Australia's historic wildfires Thursday when their airborne water tanker crashed.
The firefighters took off in a C-130 water tanker at 1 p.m. to fight a blaze near the Snowy Mountains in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The plane then disappeared from radar.
"It's just a ball of flames ... over," a nearby plane told flight control of the crash, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
RAAF A47-005 P-8A Poseidon as "BLACKCAT 50" currently searching for a missing C-130 Large Air Tanker in the Snowy M… https://t.co/lUqO72pBTj— scanSydney (@scanSydney)1579751317.0
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the plane disappeared from radar a little after 2 p.m., while Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a news conference that contact was lost with the plane before 1:30 p.m., USA Today reported.
Coulson Aviation, the Canadian company that operated the plane, identified the firefighters as 44-year-old Capt. Ian H. McBeth from Great Falls, Montana; 42-year-old First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson from Buckeye, Arizona; and 43-year-old Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan from Navarre, Florida.
McBeth, a former member of the Wyoming Air National Guard and an active member of the Montana Air National Guard, was also a husband and a father to three children.
DeMorgan was a father of two who served 18 years as an engineer on the C-130 in the U.S. Air Force.
Hudson was a veteran who had served for 20 years in the U.S. Marines, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring.
Their deaths bring the death toll of the Australian wildfires up to 32 overall since September, NPR reported. More than a dozen of those killed have been firefighters.
The devastating blazes have also burned an area larger than Pennsylvania, destroyed 2,500 homes and killed more than a billion animals. The climate crisis has made Australia's natural bushfires more dangerous and extreme, Australia's Climate Council has found.
"The fire season is still far from over and today we've seen, again, tragic consequences, where three people have lost their lives," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in the wake of the three firefighters' deaths, as NPR reported. "Our thoughts and prayers and heartfelt condolences go to their families."
Berejiklian said that flags would fly at half-mast Friday as a sign of respect.
Out of respect for the three US firefighters who lost their lives operating a Large Air Tanker, flags will fly at half mast in NSW tomorrow.— Gladys Berejiklian (@Gladys Berejiklian)1579761135.0
Coulson has grounded the rest of its firefighting aircraft as a safety measure while it investigates the cause of the crash, which is still unknown, according to USA Today. This will reduce the air power available to the 1,700 firefighting volunteers and personnel still battling the flames.
There are currently five fires burning at the highest "emergency warning" level in NSW and near the Australian capital of Canberra.
The fire near Canberra has burned almost 1,000 square miles and is considered out of control, according to NPR.
The U.S. has sent more than 200 people to Australia to help fight the fires, CNN reported. It said Wednesday it would send another two 20-person crews.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne honored the U.S. firefighters who lost their lives.
"Our hearts go out to their loved ones. They were helping Australia, far from their own homes, an embodiment of the deep friendship between our two countries," she said in a statement reported by USA Today.
- Australia Firefighters Save the Only Wild Prehistoric Wollemi Pines ... ›
- Half a Billion Animals May Have Been Killed by Australia Wildfires ... ›
- Australia Airdrops Thousands of Carrots, Sweet Potatoes to ... ›
As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.
- FDA Approves First In-Home Test for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- When Should You Get a COVID-19 or Antibody Test? - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Plans to End Federal Funding for COVID-19 Testing Sites ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial Into Agency Reports ... ›
- Climate Denier Is Named to Leadership Role at NOAA - EcoWatch ›
New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.
Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.
The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.
- Renewable Energy Could Power the World by 2050 - EcoWatch ›
- Net Zero U.S. by 2050? House Dems Unveil Sweeping Climate ... ›
- Delayed Senate Energy Bill Promotes LNG Exports, 'Clean Coal ... ›