Investigation underway into 737 air tanker crash


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An investigation has been launched into why a firebombing aircraft crashed on its way to a bushfire in southern Western Australia.

Two pilots aboard the 737 air tanker suffered minor injuries when the plane went down over Fitzgerald River National Park late Monday afternoon.

It had taken off from Busselton-Margaret River Airport and crashed near Hopetoun, about 500km away, which is under threat from an out-of-control blaze.

The pilots managed to free themselves and were rescued by helicopter.

They were taken to Ravensthorpe Airport and assessed at a local medical facility.

Coulson Aviation, which owns the aircraft, said it was grateful the pilots were safe.

“Our thoughts and our immediate concern is for those team members and their families,” it said in a statement.

A different aircraft operated by the company crashed in the NSW Snowy Mountains in January 2020, killing three people on board.

The WA crash site is in a remote part of the national park but it’s hoped Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators will soon be able to reach the wreck.

The bushfire remains out of control and is heading northeast.

It poses a possible threat to lives and homes near Hopetoun, according to an alert issued by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Several roads have been shut down and a smoke warning issued for the area.


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