South Korea — One person died after a fire-fighting helicopter crashed near a temple on a mountain located in South Korea’s southwest province, local firefighters said Saturday.
The chopper rented by North Jeolla Province for fighting forest fires crashed at around 2:58 p.m. near Geumsan Temple in Gimje, about 260 kilometers southwest of Seoul, according to them.
The accident took place while it was en route to the place where it was to begin its mission early next month.
The 61-year-old pilot, who was identified only by his last name, Kim, died in the crash. He was the only person on board.
The exact cause of the accident has not been confirmed but the area was reported to be foggy at the time of the accident. Firefighters and a rescue team were dispatched to the scene. As a blaze continues to burn out of control in northwest Tasmania, extending an emergency warning for residents, a senior firefighter says authorities face weeks more work.
The small shack community of Temma remained on high alert for a second day on Thursday with the Tasmania Fire Service warning of an ‘uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast-moving’ fire, which has already burned through almost 13,000 hectares.
While outhouses, fencing and verandas have been destroyed, there are no reports of dwelling damage, injury or loss of livestock.
Four people have been treated for smoke inhalation.
The areas of Nelson Bay and Arthur River remain on alert and the Nelson Bay Bridge has been destroyed.
Deputy chief Jeremy Smith says forecast rain over coming days will bring little, if any, relief.
‘We’re only anticipating potentially up to 20mm over the three or four days over the weekend so that is not enough rain to extinguish these fires,’ he told ABC Radio.
‘We’ve got many weeks of going through the fire lines and ensuring they’re completely out.’
The fire was one of more than 70 started across the state over a fortnight ago during a series of dry-lightning strikes.
Many of the blazes are burning in remote, difficult-to-access areas, including sections of protected old-growth forest.
Access to Cradle Mountain in the state’s central north has been closed, along with the popular Overland Track, from which trekkers were being air-winched to safety late on Wednesday.
On Thursday fire crews are due to start arriving from New Zealand to join local and interstate personnel.
‘The crews will have to go and do the hard slog and track every edge of those fires,’ Mr Smith said.
Forty helicopters, including some on loan from interstate, are being used to water bomb the fire in difficult-to-reach areas, while radar technology is proving helpful as smoke reduces visibility.
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