A helicopter crashed during a firefighting operation in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) on Friday, resultantly killing the pilot.
The incident happened at Woodstock, near Ulladulla, with an NSW Ambulance spokesperson saying that the water-bombing helicopter crashed into a tree, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The NSW Police confirmed the pilot’s death when they found a wreckage with the male pilot, the only occupant of the craft, deceased at the spot.
The NSW Rural Fire Service also confirmed the mishap, saying that “one of its contracted water-bombing helicopters working on a bushfire in the Shoalhaven area” was involved in “a serious incident.”
In a statement, NSW Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant offered his condolences over the incident for the deceased pilot’s friends and family, saying, “This is a tragic event and my deepest sympathies are with the pilot’s family and friends.”
“My thoughts and prayers are also with the emergency services community, especially the many brigades and units working to contain the Kingiman Fire,” he added in the statement.
NSW authorities have established a crime in the area, with the coroner set to investigate the report of the incident. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is also slated to investigate the helicopter crash.
More than 600 firefighting officials have been deployed to contain over 80 bush and grass fires that broke out in the coastal regions of NSW on Wednesday, which has destroyed a number of homes and outbuildings.
The brunt of the damage from the bushfires was seen towards the southern coast, with over 3300 hectares of land being engulfed near the town of Bemoka and the RFS also confirming that at least three homes were lost.
Firefighters are working round the clock to ensure the fires across the state are doused before forecasted winds start picking up on Saturday.