As efforts continue to stop the fires burning in the land down under, more people have lost their lives as a result of battling the blazes. A Canadian firefighting plane crashed in Australia while on a mission to help with the fires there. The crash killed three American firefighters who were on board the aircraft.

On January 23 in New South Wales, the Canadian-owned water tanker went down as it was flying in the state’s Snowy Monaro regional council on a mission with retardent.

Coulson Aviation, the B.C.-based company that leased the plane to the Australian government, told CTV News Vancouver Island that almost all of its aircraft are in the region to help with the firefighting effort there.

In a news conference, Shane Fitzsimmons, commissioner of the Rural Fire Service for New South Wales, said that the plane "impacted heavily with the ground and initial reports are that there was a large fireball associated with the impact of the plane as it hit the ground."

The Lockheed C-130 tanker left the city of Richmond for the mission before losing contact while in the Snowy Monaro area. 

"There is no indication at this stage of what's caused the accident," said Fitzsimmons.

As the investigation starts at the crash site, it could take 30 days for a preliminary report on what happened to be released.

Coulson Aviation said in a statement posted to Facebook that "the accident is reported to be extensive."

The Canadian company will be sending a team to where the plane crashed to help with emergency operations there.

Another C-130 aircraft that was leased out by the aviation group was also working in Australia and, according to Reuters, Coulson has grounded its fleet after the accident.

According to the Coulson Aviation - Next Gen Firefighting Facebook page, the B.C.-based company has more than 110,000 safe flight hours.

Along with the Canadian-owned planes, many firefighters, fire specialists and a group of wildlife volunteers from the True North have been in Australia to help battle the blazes and save animals.

Some specialists from here were even applauded when they arrived at an airport in Australia at the beginning of January.

NOW WATCH: Canadian Air Tanker Crashes While Fighting Australia Bushfires Leaving Three Dead (VIDEO)

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