Footage shows fatal US air tanker’s final moments
Harrowing new footage has emerged showing the seconds before a C-130 Hercules waterbombing aircraft crashed in a fiery explosion, killing three US firefighters.
The air tanker instantly killed Captain Ian McBeth, 45, First Officer Paul Hudson, 43 and Flight Engineer Rick DeMorgan Jnr, 43, when it crashed near the NSW-Victoria border last Thursday.
As authorities try to piece together the plane's final moments, new footage surfaced on social media showing the aircraft exploding.
The video shows the waterbomber flying through the air above Numeralla in the Snowy Mountains before dropping red fire retardant on a nearby property.
"Here we go, he's done that one, is he going to do the other one," the man filming was heard saying as the plane drops the retardant.
The plane then disappears from view as it enters a thick cloud of smoke.
The aircraft can be glimpsed briefly through the smoke haze before an explosion rocks the area.
Investigators on Saturday retrieved the plane's black box which could help them piece together the plane's final moments.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is forensically examining the site and debris to determine how the plane went down.
A preliminary report on the cause of the crash is expected to be prepared within 30 days.
The head of Coulson Aviation Wayne Coulson has previously said he did not know the cause of the crash.
"To see our aircraft on the ground, knowing we have had such loss of life, was devastating," Mr Coulson said.
"These are world-class flight crews flying a world-class and well-maintained aircraft."
Coulson Aviation is a Canadian-based company while the three dead crew members were all from the United States.
The State Government is set to hold a state memorial service in Sydney next month for the state's fallen firefighters, including the three US firefighters.