3 US firefighters identified after fatal plane crash fighting Australian fires

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The three American firefighters who died in a plane crash fighting Australian wildfires have been identified as Captain Ian H. McBeth, 44, from Montana, Officer Paul Hudson, 42 from Arizona, and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr.,43, from Florida.

The split image shows the three U.S. firefighters who died in the plane crash fighting Australian fires. Ian H McBeth from Montana, Paul Clyde Hudson from Arizona and Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. from Florida.

The image shows the 3 US firefighters who died in the plane crash fighting Australian fires. Right to left: Ian H. McBeth, Paul Clyde Hudson & Rick A. DeMorgan Jr.



Coulson Aviation released the names of those who died onboard their Lockheed C-130 Hercules air tanker, expressing their condolences:

"At Coulson Aviation, we have the incredible job of fighting fires around the world and we take responsibility. Right now, our hearts are with the crew's family and friends and our Coulson Family suffering in the loss of these three remarkable and well-respected crewmembers. We as a company are committed to supporting the families of our fallen heroes through this tragedy.... The aviation industry and emergency service sector is a small community both in Australia and around the world. This will be deeply felt by all. We honor the amazing crews who do incredible things in dangerous circumstances supported by world-class operations."

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the three men were on a California based-tanker crew.

The Coulson Aviation owned C-130 Hercules air tanker, operating on contract with Australia's Rural Fire Service that crashed while battling wildfires in the Snowy Monaro region of Australia's southern New South Wales state was the same aircraft seen at McClellan Air Force Base during an event Governor Newsom hosted with former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to highlight the state's new firefighting equipment in Aug. 2019.

This is an image of the C-130 Hercules seen at the McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento County, Calif. during an event Governor Newsom hosted with former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Aug. 1, 2019 to highlight the state's new firefighting equipment.

This is an image of the C-130 Hercules seen at the McClellan Air Force Base in Calif. on Aug. 1, 2019 to highlight the state's new firefighting equipment.



Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement:

"Jennifer and I are heartbroken to learn of the air tanker crash in Australia that claimed the lives of three heroic American firefighters. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of the crew, their friends and loved ones, and our own CAL FIRE family who worked, fought fires, and trained with the crew of Tanker 134. This tragic accident reminds us all of the too-high cost of the scourge of wildfires, as well as the sacrifice of first responders from around the world. California and Australia, already united by the deadly threat of wildfires, now grieve this tragic loss together."
CAL FIRE Chief Porter said, "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of the crew from Tanker 134 that were lost during a tragic crash while battling the devastating Australia fires. CAL FIRE stands with you during this difficult time."

Australian authorities are still investigating the incident.
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