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Last updated: 4 April 2020
Status:
Date:Thursday 23 January 2020
Time:13:16
Type:Silhouette image of generic C130 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed EC-130Q Hercules
Operator:Coulson Aviation
Registration: N134CG
C/n / msn: 4904
First flight: 1981
Engines: 4 Allison T56-A-15
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Cooma, NSW (   Australia)
Crash site elevation: 1048 m (3438 feet) amsl
Phase: Maneuvering (MNV)
Nature:Fire fighting
Departure airport:Richmond RAAF Base, NSW (XRH/YSRI), Australia
Destination airport:Richmond RAAF Base, NSW (XRH/YSRI), Australia
Narrative:
A Lockheed C-130 Hercules firefighting aircraft impacted terrain and burst into flames near Cooma, north-east of the Snowy Mountains in Australia. All three crew members died in the accident.
The aircraft, contracted to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, departed Richmond RAAF Base, Australia at 12:05 local time. The crew had been tasked with a fire retardant drop over the ‘Adaminaby Complex’ bush fire.
After approaching the Adaminaby complex fire, the drop was unable to be completed and the aircraft was diverted to a secondary tasking, to drop retardant on the ‘Good Good’ fire. Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft complete a number of circuits, prior to completing the retardant drop. The drop was conducted on a heading of about 190°, at about 200 ft above ground level, with a drop time of approximately 2 seconds. The crew released about 1,200 US gallons (4,500 L) of fire retardant during the drop.
Witness videos taken of the aircraft leading up to the accident showed a number of passes conducted at varying heights prior to the retardant drop. Following the retardant drop, the aircraft was observed to bank left, before becoming obscured by smoke after about 5 seconds. A further 15 seconds after this, the aircraft was seen flying at a very low height above the ground, in a left wing down attitude. Shortly after, at about 13:16, the aircraft collided with terrain and a post-impact fuel-fed fire ensued. The three crew were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation ongoing
Accident number: AO-2020-007
Download report:

Sources:
» Flightaware flight track
» SMH


Photos

photo of Lockheed-EC-130Q-Hercules-N134CG
accident date: 23-01-2020
type: Lockheed EC-130Q Hercules
registration: N134CG
photo of Lockheed-EC-130Q-Hercules-N134CG
accident date: 23-01-2020
type: Lockheed EC-130Q Hercules
registration: N134CG
photo of Lockheed-EC-130Q-Hercules-N134CG
accident date: 23-01-2020
type: Lockheed EC-130Q Hercules
registration: N134CG
 

Aircraft history
date registration operator remarks
161496 US Navy Nov. 1981 delivered
161496 US Navy 1993 in storage
N130CG Coulson Aviation 2017 conversion to air tanker
N134CG Coulson Aviation May 2018 re-registered

Map

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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