B.C. fire tanker crashes in Australia, both on board safe: owner

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PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — A Boeing 737 air tanker owned by a British Columbia company has crashed in western Australia while on deployment to a fire. 

Coulson Aviation, based in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, says in a statement that both pilots walked away from the accident and have been medically assessed. 

The statement says the company is offering all the support it can to its local and international crews and is grateful to its firefighting and aviation industry colleagues in Australia. 

Coulson announced last month that it had been awarded a contract to provide its Boeing 737 Flatliner, designated tanker 139, as Australia’s new large air tanker. 

At the time, the company said the state-of-the-art aircraft was capable of dropping more than 15,000 litres of retardant or water at flow rates of up to 11,000 litres per second.

While it’s unclear what caused the crash, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. says the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are conducting separate investigations into the crash. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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