SYDNEY: A plane dousing wildfires in bushland south of Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, crashed into a national park yesterday, killing the pilot and sparking a new fire to add to 55 still burning across the state of New South Wales.
The accident happened as more dry, windy conditions caused a flare-up in huge fires burning for a week in mountains to the west of Sydney, closing roads and entering a valley running down towards the metropolitan area.
“It’s hard to definitely say that (the worst is over) at this stage,” said Rural Fire Service spokeswoman Natalie Sanders. “We have got cooler temperatures today and the winds are slightly lower but with these fires still going, it’s hard to say how long they’ll go for and whether there will be any further damage.”
Emergency officials confirmed a 43-year-old man died when his water bomber fixed-wing aircraft crashed in the Budawang National Park, 270km southwest of Sydney, a wilderness area popular with hikers and campers. Rescue workers were unable to retrieve the body, driven back by high winds, smoke and rugged terrain. Reuters