Firefighters who died in Australia were on California tanker

California

In this undated photo released from the Rural Fire Service, a C-130 Hercules plane called “Thor” drops water during a flight in Australia. Officials in Australia on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, searched for a water tanker plane feared to have crashed while fighting wildfires. (RFS via AP)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s governor says the three American flight crew members who died when their aerial water tanker crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia were part of a crew on a California-based tanker.

Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement on Thursday did not identify the crew members but called them heroes.

The premier of Australia’s New South Wales state confirmed the crash deaths in the Snowy Monaro region as Australia attempts to deal with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction.

Canada-based Coulson Aviation says one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission. 

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