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Thu, Feb 16, 2023

Coulson Returns to Service After Firefighting Pause

Firefighting Operator Loses Power on Climbout After Bucket Drop

On February 7th, one of Coulson's FireLiner 737s ended a flight early, when Tanker 139 appeared to have lost power while leaving the scene of a bucket drop.

The aircraft was about 275 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, fighting a series of wildfires in Fitzgerald River National Park. The incident occurred following the 3rd pass at less than 1,000' to douse the target with retardant, when the Fireliner stumbled on its way climbing back up to cruise. It ascended a bit, peaking below 2,000' before coming back down to Earth in an off-airport landing. 

Thankfully the crew were reportedly none the worse for wear, coming away from the experience with minor injuries before being picked up from the crash site by a St. John Ambulance WA helicopter crew. In addressing the incident, company head Wayne Coulson issued a statement:

"One of our 737 FireLiner’s, Tanker 139, operating in Western Australia, was involved in an accident while tasked to a fire on Monday, 6 February 2023. The aircraft had two on board at the time of the accident. Both pilots walked away from the accident, and have been medically assessed. Our thoughts and our immediate concern is for those team members and their families."

"We are very grateful the two team members on Tanker 139 are safe. We are offering all the support we can to our local and international crews. We’re also grateful for the support being provided by our firefighting and aviation industry colleagues in Western Australia."

To reorient themselves and “take some down time …to process the Tanker 139 accident,” the company pulled back and held off on continued operations in Australia through the 9th. They’ve now returned to service as they work with local agencies on the investigation process.

FMI: www.coulsonaviation.com.au

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