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‘A tragic day’: Three American victims of waterbomber crash named

Three American firefighters who died after their large air tanker crashed in southern NSW have been named.

The NSW Rural Fire Service lost contact with the waterbombing aircraft, which was working on fires in the Snowy Monaro area, on Thursday.

Captain Ian McBeth, First Officer Paul Hudson and Flight Engineer Rick DeMorgan Jnr were killed when the aircraft crashed and exploded west of Cooma.

Their families are expected to land in Australia tomorrow.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was chartered by the RFS from American aerial firefighting company, Coulson Aviation.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons tells Ben Fordham the owners of the company will be arriving in Sydney as soon as possible.

“It’s a tragic day.

“There’s a lot of people who are hurting today. Words escape me to truly describe the gravity of the situation.”

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Image: NSW RFS