Fundraiser set up for killed US firefighters
A GoFundMe campaign has been created to support the families of three American firefighters who died while water bombing bushfires in southern NSW last week.
Investigations are continuing into how captain Ian McBeth, 44, first officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, and flight engineer Rick DeMorgan died last Thursday when their C-130 plane crashed in the Snowy Mountains.
The men were employed by Coulson Aviation and contracted by the Rural Fire Service to fight fires during an unprecedented bushfire season.
A GoFundMe account has been created to support their families and almost $10,000 has already been raised of the $30,000 target.
"On Thursday 23, 2020, the world tragically lost the heroes of Tanker 134 while battling brush fires in Australia," a statement from Coulson Aviation said.
"We're raising funds to help defer the immediate financial burden to the families of Captain Ian McBeth, First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson and Flight Engineer Rick DeMorgan.
"Funds will be raised and divided equally between the beneficiaries of Tanker 134 crew members who lost their lives. Raised funds will be distributed on a weekly basis until the goal is met. We will keep everyone informed of distributions."
Their families have made the trek from North America to the crash site.
They were there alongside NSW Police and Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators who were trying to piece together what led to the incident.
Over the weekend, investigators uncovered the last two hours of the cockpit voice recording inside the wreckage of the C-130.
It is expected to take weeks before a preliminary report is filed due to the "complicated" kilometre long crash site - which is also an active bushfire area.