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News Flash: Air tanker lost in NSW

written by Chris Frame | January 23, 2020

A large air tanker has crashed while performing routine firefighting operations in New South Wales, with the loss of all three crew members.

The Coulson Lockheed EC130Q landing at Sacramento in May 2019 (Talbert Reese)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the disaster, which occurred on 23 January 2020 while the aircraft was operating firebombing activity under contract by the RFS.

“The fire season is far from over and today again we’ve seen tragic consequences where three people have lost their lives, after a large air tanker crashed,” Premier Berejiklian told media this afternoon.

“It demonstrates the dangerous work currently being undertaken, and it also demonstrates the conditions that our firefighters are working under. There are in excess of 70 aircraft that have been used today alone and today is a stark and horrible reminder of the dangerous conditions that our volunteers, our emergency services personnel across a number of agencies undertake on a daily basis.”

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The aircraft involved is a 1981 model Lockheed EC130Q owned by Delaware Trust Co. in the US, with registration N134CG. It was operated by Coulson Aviation.


Concern for the aircraft and its crew were first raised earlier in the day when the RFS released a statement via social media advising that contact had been lost with the large air tanker, which was operating in the Snowy Monaro area.

In light of the disaster, the ATSB released a statement via Twitter confirming it will investigate the incident. A preliminary report is expected in approximately 30 days.
More to come.


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