Two long-time US military aviators had just started aerial firefighting while their experienced pilot was flying his final shift when their plane crashed fighting the Black Summer bushfires.
A NSW inquest into the 2019-20 horror fire season resumed on Monday to examine their deaths.
Calls played to the inquest recorded senior Rural Fire Service personnel being told aircraft were grounded on the morning of January 23, 2020.
“Let’s just get LATs (large air tankers) up there and see what they can do,” came the response.
Captain Ian McBeth, 44, first officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, and flight engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr, 43, were killed when their Lockheed EC-130Q LAT crashed northeast of Cooma.
NSW State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan praised their bravery and generosity for coming to protect Australia as the inquest hearing began on Monday.
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