To honour the memory of three American firefighters who passed away in an air-tanker crash recently, three koalas in Australia that have been saved from the devastating bushfires have been named after them.
The three firefighters were 44-year-old Capt. Ian McBeth of Great Falls, Montana, who was piloting the downed C-130 plane; First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, of Buckeye, Arizona; and 43-year-old Flight Engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr., who lived in Navarre, Florida.
The three firefighters, veterans of the US military, passed away when their air tanker crashed while battling the blazes in Australia. The crash occurred in an active fire zone in the Snowy Mountains, south of Canberra.
They were on a water-bombing mission to fight off the blazes when the gruesome mishap occurred.
To pay a tribute to the three, the Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust, an organization that runs koala sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers in Australia, named three koalas after Ian, Paul, and Rick.
The three koalas are currently at the Australian National University campus in Canberra, staying in temperature-controlled rooms for the next few weeks before they can be moved back into the wild.
“There are a couple with burn injuries and the rest have come from completely burnt habitats and they are quite skinny,” Karen Ford, an expert in koala nutrition at the Australian National University said. “These injured animals have been very stressed. They have gone through a bushfire but they are doing well. They are eating well and have calmed down a lot.”
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