Pilots Survive Australian 737 Fire Bomber Crash

Coulson Aviation 737-300
Credit: Coulson Aviation

SINGAPORE—Two pilots have survived after the Boeing 737-300 firefighting tanker they were flying crashed while on a mission in Western Australia. 

The aircraft—reg. N619SW, s/n 28035—operated by Coulson Aviation was responding to a bushfire at Fitzgerald River National Park on the afternoon of Feb. 6 when the accident occurred.

It departed Busselton airport at 3:32 p.m. local time before crashing about 40 min. later.

The two pilots were retrieved from the crash site by helicopter and airlifted to hospital. They were “not believed to be seriously injured,” according to ABC News, citing the Western Australia police department. 

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has launched an investigation into the incident.

Aviation Week Network’s Fleet Discovery shows N619SW was first delivered to Southwest Airlines in September 1995 before it was sold to Coulson Aviation in 2017. The aircraft has flown more than 69,000 hr. across 54,436 cycles. Coulson currently has four converted 737-300s, dubbed “FireLiners.”

This is Coulson’s second crash in Australia. A Lockheed C-130, also on a firefighting mission, crashed in January 2020, killing three onboard.

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.