NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned that the bushfire season is far from over following the news of C-130 large air tanker crash over the Snowy Monaro.
On Thursday, 23 January the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) announced that a Lockheed C-130 Hercules working over the Snowy Monaro area crashed around 2pm, killing three United States aerial firefighting crew.
The aircraft is described as a ‘workhorse’ and is specifically designed for aerial firefighting, with a capacity to carry 15,000 litres of water.
The aircraft was deployed to drop retardant on an out of control bushfire north-west of Adaminaby with the exact cause of the crash unknown.
At a press conference in Sydney, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the hot, dry and windy conditions on Thursday was further proof that there is no clear end in sight for Australian’s current bushfire season.
“Unfortunately, as we’ve been saying all along, the fire season is far from over and today again we’ve seen tragic consequences where three people lost their lives,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“It demonstrates the dangerous work currently being undertaken and it demonstrates the conditions that our firefighters are working under.
“Today is a reminder of how every single person who is defending life and property is at risk because of the dangerous circumstances.”
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the tragic loss of life as a result of the crash would (…) and that the loss of the aircraft would have repercussions on short-term firefighting efforts.
“Three remarkable men, coming down here to Australia once again this season, helping us to save and protect people but tragically this year, they won’t be going home to the United States,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.
“It’s a high-capacity asset … that we no longer have. It’s absolutely a loss to the aviation capabilities.
“But we can adapt and accommodate the loss of [this asset] as we have a number of others operating in NSW.”
High temperatures are expected to continue across NSW over the weekend, but conditions have eased following a southerly change that brought light rain to fire grounds across the south coast on Thursday night.