January 23, 2020 / 6:02 AM / a month ago

Three die after crash of Australian aircraft fighting bushfires

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Three people have been killed after an air tanker crashed in a fireball on Thursday while fighting bushfires in Australia’s alpine region, said Shane Fitzsimmons, the Rural Fire Services Commissioner for New South Wales state.

The state’s rural fire service had said it lost contact with the C-130 Hercules aircraft shortly after 2 p.m.

“There appear to be no survivors as a result of the crash down in the Snowy Monaro area,” Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney.

“It’s impacted heavily with the ground and initial reports are that there was a large fireball associated with the impact of the plane as it hit the ground.”

(This story corrects attribution to fire commissioner from state premier Gladys Berejiklian)

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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