Coulson’s Tanker 139, registered as N619SW, has crashed while fighting fires in Western Australia. Tanker 139 was in Australia for the fire season as part of a multi-year contract with the Australian government.
The aircraft was believed to be on its third mission of the day, operating out of Busselton Airport in Western Australia when it departed at 1532 local time for another mission. After reaching 29,000 AGL the aircraft then descended to 700 feet to lay retardant lines according to flight tracking before the accident occurred at approximately 1600 local time.
The aircraft came down in an area near Fitzgerald National Park where both pilots, the only crew members on board the aircraft were able to self-extricate from the aircraft before being airlifted by helicopter to a local airport before being moved to a Perth hospital by the Royal Flying Doctors service, though initial reports advise that both pilots only have minor injuries from the crash.
Coulson Aviation released this statement shortly after the accident: