B.C. firefighting company sets limits after 737 crashes in Australia
May 9, 2023 By The Canadian Press
A British Columbia aerial firefighting company has made operational changes after a preliminary report from Australia’s transport safety authority into a crash in February.
The preliminary report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau says a Coulson Aviation 737 was on a low-level drop of retardant on a fire when it clipped a ridgeline and crashed near Hopetoun in Western Australia.
While the final results haven’t been released, the report says Coulson has issued an operations bulletin for its firebombers in Australia, increasing minimum speed and raising the height from which the planes can drop retardant, from 46 metres to 61 metres.
The report says the two pilots received minor injures and were able to escape out the right-side windows of the aircraft before it went up in flames, after the cabin door buckled and with the blaze burning on the left side of the plane.
The plane was destroyed by the fire, and the report has no analysis or findings while making no notifications for immediate critical safety issues.
Coulson says in a statement on its website that it is working with the safety bureau to provide the information needed to understand the crash.
In January 2020, three American crew members died when a Coulson Aviation tanker crashed on a firebombing mission in the Australian state of New South Wales.