Three American firefighters died in a water tanker plane crash while battling bushfires in Australia on Thursday.
Rural Fire Service officials said they located the plane, which was carrying retardant for a firebombing mission, after it crashed around the Snowy Monaro region of New South Wales state. The plane can drop more than 4,000 gallons of fire retardant on a single pass.
Coulson Aviation in Oregon said in a statement that one of its C-130 Lockheed large air tankers was lost after leaving Richmond in NSW and that the accident was "extensive."
"We are deeply saddened to confirm there were 3 fatalities," Coulson's statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three crew members onboard."
Coulson grounded its other planes as a precautionary measure. The victims have not yet been identified.
The crash raises the death toll from the fire to at least 31.