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Video: Boeing 737 crashes during firefighting mission

Ambulance (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 15, 2023

Video shared on social media shows the wreckage of an Australian Boeing 737 that crashed during a firefighting mission earlier this month.

A brushfire has been burning in an area of Western Australia’s south coast for several days, as Australia endures its summer months, which typically run from December to February in the southern hemisphere. The 737 was assigned to a firefighting near the Fitzgerald River National Park when it crashed 4:15 p.m. local time on Feb. 6.

Footage from the crash showed the front half of the aircraft largely intact, while the back half burned.

The two pilots of the firefighting aircraft survived with only minor injuries. The Western Australia (WA) fire and emergency services department said the pilots “removed themselves from the aircraft” and “were retrieved from the crash site by helicopter and taken to Ravensthorpe Airport, where they were then transferred to a local medical facility.”

The exact cause of the crash is not entirely clear. The Boeing 737 took off from Busselton-Margaret River Airport about 45 minutes before the crash, and was on its way to the fire when it went down.

The various models of Boeing 737 have been involved in a number of high-profile crashes in recent years.

A Boeing 737 cargo plane crash-landed in the ocean off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii in July of 2021. The U.S. Coast Guard safely recovered both pilots.

A Boeing 737-800 passenger airplane operated by China Eastern Airlines went into what responding authorities described as a “death plunge” in March of last year, killing more than 132 people on board.

According to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network, there have been 529 aviation accidents involving the various 737 models. Those incidents have resulted in more than 5,700 fatalities combined, though the majority of the reported incidents did not result in fatalities.