SYDNEY — Investigators say the American tanker plane that crashed while fighting Australian wildfires had just dropped a load of retardant on a fire before it went down.
Their employer identified the men killed as Capt. Ian H. McBeth of Montana, First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson of Arizona and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. of Florida.
The crash occurred during an unprecedented wildfire season that has left a large swath of destruction in Australia’s southeast.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says specialist investigators were sent to the crash site and a team was working in difficult conditions to recover the victims’ bodies.