Meet the three koalas named after fallen American firefighters

Three koalas have been named in honor of the American firefighters killed in a plane crash fighting the Australian bushfires. Ian, Rick, and Paul were named by a koala conservationist that lost his home and sanctuary in the blaze.

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An Australian koala conservationist is paying tribute to three American firefighters who died in a plane crash while fighting Australia's bushfires. James Fitzgerald has named three koalas after Captain Ian H. McBeth of Montana, Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. of Florida, and First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson of Arizona. The three men died January 23 when their C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker crashed while dropping fire retardant south of Canberra, Australia's capital.

The crash happened just outside Fitzgerald's koala sanctuary.

"They've come from America, the other side of the world, to help us with our bushfires. And they've, you know, they've paid that ultimate price," Fitzgerald said. "And I just can't believe what happened on that day."

Fitzgerald lost his home to the fires and now spends his days searching for surviving koalas to rehabilitate.

"I'm certainly building up a level of sadness that at some point we're gonna have to deal with," Fitzgerald said. "But at the moment, we've got a lotta work to do."

If you would like to help the animals affected by Australia's bushfires, please visit the links below:

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Rick the koala with 60 Minutes contributing correspondent Holly Williams

The video above was edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.