Investigators are working to retrieve the cockpit voice recorder from a firefighting aircraft that crashed in New South Wales yesterday, killing three specialist fire crew on board.
The C-130 Hercules plane went down around 1.30pm yesterday while battling a blaze in southern NSW. The three specialist firefighters were all from the US.
Authorities are hoping to recover the bodies of victims Captain Ian McBeth, First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson and Flight Engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr later today.
However, the kilometre-long crash site and its location within an active bushfire zone is complicating recovery efforts.
"It's obvious that the plane has impacted heavily, and the crash site covered a good kilometre just in length," Chief Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Greg Hood said.
Mr Hood said once NSW Police have safely secured the site and concluded their investigation the priority will be to recover the cockpit voice recorder.
"We will also be looking at the air traffic control data, the automatic independent surveillance data, a piece of equipment in the aircraft that broadcast GPS condition, height, speed and intent every half a second, so we are keen to understand what the data says to us and also we will be looking to the air traffic control recordings from air services Australia," he said.
The next week-and-a-half will be spent gathering evidence, securing any hazards such as aviation fuel, and any unexploded canisters such as oxygen tanks.
"We want to stabilise hazards that may be presented to emergency service personnel and to ATSB personnel and in previous accidents we have dug a hole and buried some of the pressurised containers," he said.
"The first job tomorrow will be to meticulously, carefully ensure that there are no remaining hazards for people."
When asked about the state of the crash site and whether the aircraft was still intact, NSW Police Superintendent Paul Condon said initial reports suggested the plane had been destroyed.
"There's not much intact, at all. At all," he said.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/nsw-rfs-plane-crash-investigators-working-to-secure-site-retrieve-bodies/1b486470-646f-49cd-9cc5-3d4fbb39ab83