Air tanker dousing Australian bushfire crashes, kills 3

ANKARA, Jan 23 (NNN-ANADOLU) — At least three people were killed when a special air plane fighting bushfires in Australia crashed on Thursday, local media reported.

A large air tanker crashed while fighting bushfires in Cooma area of New South Wales (NSW), ABC news reported.

Local authorities dispatched choppers and fire fighters on ground to locate the crashed plane as the country’s east is battling high temperatures and strong winds which fanned blazes across the region.

“Tragically, there appear to be no survivors as a result of the crash down in the Snowy Monaro area,” said Rural Fire Service (RFA) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

The Australian government has issued five emergency fire warnings triggering closure of Canberra Airport as the bushfire threat roared back into NSW amid very hot, dry and windy weather, Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Fitzsimmons said: “[The aircraft] 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.”

Australia is battling intense bushfires since last year killing over 25 people and nearly a billion animals. Property worth millions of dollars has been destroyed as bushfires ravaged towns and cities.

Authorities are yet to know cause of the incident which brought down air tanker — Lockheed C-130 Hercules.