A Boeing 737-300 adapted to fight fires crashed on Monday in South Australia. The aircraft registration N619SW of the company Coulson Aviation (USA) had been contracted by the Australian Federal Government to carry out missions in the Fitzgerald River National Park in the beginning of 2023.
There are still no details of the accident, but according to local media reports, the two pilots of the 737 survived and were taken to a hospital in the region with minor injuries.
The jet, named “Tanker 139”, left the United States in late 2022 and has been based at Busselton Regional Airport since at least December 13.
According to Coulson, the 737 “is equipped with Coulson Aviation’s Retardant Aerial Delivery System (RADS), the Company’s patented tanking and release system. With RADS onboard, the aircraft is capable of dropping up to 4,000 gallons of retardant or water at flow rates of up to 3,000 gallons per second”.
We are following reports that a Boeing 737-300 (N619SW) has crashed during a fire fighting mission in southern Australia.
The aircraft involved belong to Coulson Aviation and is 27 years old.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 6, 2023
“The ATSB is assembling a team of transport safety investigators from its Perth and Canberra offices with experience in aircraft operations and maintenance, human factors and data recovery to conduct the evidence collection phase of the investigation”, said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
Wayne Coulson, CEO of Coulson Aviation said that “Both pilots walked away from the accident, and have been medically assessed. Our thoughts and our immediate concern is for those team members and their families”.
According to FlightRadar24 data, the aircraft was in an orbit descended to 650 ft minimum altitude before ADS-B data reception ceased.