An Australian koala conservationist is paying tribute to three American firefighters who died in a plane crashJames 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 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:
- RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) of South Australia
- Australian National University/Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust
- Humane Society International –Australia
- World Wildlife Fund – Australia
The video above was edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.