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3 Americans dead after firefighting water bomber crashes in rural Australia

Posted: 9:31 AM, Jan 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-24 13:17:39-05
3 Americans dead after firefighting water bomber crashes in rural Australia

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.

Coulson Aviation identified the three U.S. firefighters as (from left to right): Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr., 43, from Navarre, Florida; Capt. Ian H. McBeth, 44, from Great Falls, Montana; and 1st Officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, from Buckeye, Arizona. (Photos provided by Coulson Aviation)

Coulson Aviation identified the three U.S. firefighters as (from left to right): Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr., 43, from Navarre, Florida; Capt. Ian H. McBeth, 44, from Great Falls, Montana; and 1st Officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, from Buckeye, Arizona. (Photos provided by Coulson Aviation)