US crew killed in air tanker crash while battling fires named

Three US firefighters who died when their air tanker plane crashed in a “fireball” while battling bushfires in southeastern Australia have been named.

Captain Ian McBeth, 45; first officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 43, and flight engineer Rick A DeMorgan Jr, 44, were killed in New South Wales, their employer said.

The cause of the crash is not known.

A water tanker plane has gone missing while fighting Australia bushfires. File pic
Image:Coulson Aviation grounded its other large air tankers immediately after the crash. File pic

The crew – who had all previously worked for the US military – were killed when the C-130 Hercules they were in went down near Peak View, in Australia’s alpine region, close to a bushfire burning out of control in the Wadbilliga National Park.

“We honour the amazing crews who do incredible things in dangerous circumstances supported by world-class operations,” aircraft owner Coulson Aviation said in a statement.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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