Firefighters, fathers, and grandparents: The 33 people we've lost so far in the bushfires.

– With AAP.

Since the start of the current bushfire season, we’ve lost 30 Australians.

The death toll is the highest in New South Wales, where 22 people have been confirmed dead.

Victoria has lost five people, and South Australia has lost three.

But the bushfires are still raging.

A tribute from fellow Aussie Ben Lawson. Post continues after video.

Video by Ben Lawson

That death toll has continued to grow, however, this time, three American firefighters have lost their lives.

This afternoon it was announced that three United States crew have died after their aerial water tanker crashed while battling blazes in southern NSW.

Their identities have not been revealed.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said local ground crews lost contact with the C130 Hercules in the Snowy Monaro region on Thursday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the aircraft – which was owned by a private company and contracted by the fire service – had crashed, killing three people.


The plane – which could carry 15,000 litres of water – was operated by Coulson Aircrane which is based in Canada.

“All three occupants on board were US residents,” RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney.

“Tragically there appear to be no survivors as a result of the crash. It’s impacted heavily with the ground and initial reports are that there was a large fireball.”

Mr Fitzsimmons said the cause of the crash is still unknown, and the plane had been used in NSW for a number of years under contract.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s investigation will include an examination of the crash site and debris before the aircraft and the bodies are retrieved.

Ms Berejiklian said the crash was a “stark and horrible reminder” of the dangerous conditions facing firefighters on a daily basis.

A flight radar website suggests the tanker took off from the Richmond RAAF base northwest of Sydney before heading south to the Snowies on Thursday.

bushfires Australia update
The bushfires have been raging since September. Image: Getty.

The American firefighters join the 30 Australians that have tragically lost their lives this bushfire season.

19-year-old Courtney died from a bushfire smoke-induced asthma attack, and David Harrison of a heart attack while helping his mate in the Batlow fires.

Human lives are also not the only thing we've lost.

An estimated 25 million acres of bushland has been decimated, thousands of homes destroyed and more than a billion animals wiped out.

In this article, Mamamia hopes to pay tribute to the incredible lives lost so far, as their families grapple with a new year and a new decade without their loved ones to share it with.

October 9, 2019. 

Bob Lindsey, 77, and his wife Gwen Hyde, 69, were the first confirmed victims of the bushfires.

Their bodies were discovered on their rural property at Coongbar, 50km south-west of Byron Bay.

The Long Gully fire left the couple's home completely isolated.

They'd been married three years, and both had children from previous marriages.

Husband and wife Robert and Gwen. Image: 9NEWS.

November 8, 2019.

Vivian Chaplain, 69, died from injuries received while trying to defend her home from flames in Wytaliba, in New South Wales.

She had two children and six grandchildren.

Her daughter-in-law, Chrystal Harwood, told the ABC, "She was a strong woman who died protecting the home and animals she loved,


"The loss of her has devastated our family, there was nothing we could do.

"She was stuck and we couldn't get to her."

George Nole, 85, was found in his car in Wytaliba.

His friends told the Glenn Innes Examiner he was a "reclusive nudist" who moved to the isolated township to "be himself".

He was an electrician by trade and had worked with NASA's Apollo program before moving to Australia spontaneously.

In 2014, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, and friend Philip Hine says he had "outlived his time".

vivian and George
Vivian and George both lived in Wytaliba. Image: ABC.

Julie Fletcher's body was found in a burnt out building south of Port Macquarie on the same day.

Neighbours described the 63-year-old in Port News as a "quality person".

There are no public photos of Julie.

Barry Parsons, 58, died as fire tore through the north-west of Port Macquarie.

He lived alone in a shed in Willawarrin, and his body wasn't discovered until the 13th.

In a Facebook post before his death, Mr Parsons said he was alone, scared and that the flames burning in the valley sounded "apocalyptic".

Those that knew him told the ABC he was a "good fella" who was well known in the community.

Barry Parsons
Barry Parsons. Image: Facebook.

November 9, 2019. 

Chris Savva's SUV rolled down an embankment near Nambucca Heads after his route out was blocked by a burnt out bridge.

“He would have had a long night (defending his home). He was incredibly brave to have done that,” one of his daughter's Bianca Waters, told The Daily Telegraph.

Of Greek-Cypriot heritage, Mr Savva had three children, three stepchildren and nine grandchildren.

Bianca described her dad as being incredibly kind and having a great sense of humour.

Chris Savva
Chris Savva. Image: Facebook.

November 28, 2019.

Courtney Partridge-McLennan, 19, died in her bed from a smoke induced asthma attack in Glenn Innes, NSW.

She was living in the granny flat out the back of her parent's property, and the night before “the smoke came in so heavy you could not even see the hospital across the road,” her sister told The Sunday Telegraph.

"Tammy, Chris and Courtney's sister Cherylleigh don't want her passing to go unnoticed against the backdrop of these fires. They wish to raise awareness of the seriousness of asthma, the risks to people with asthma and the dangers of bushfire smoke, so no one else has to go through what they're experiencing," her family said in a post via Asthma Australia.

November 30, 2019.

David Moresi, 69, died when his vehicle rolled down an embankment in Gelantipy in the East Gippsland of Victoria.

He was part of a bulldozer crew building fire breaks for backburning.

His daughter Kelly Douglass told the Herald Sun that her father “would get in to help anyone who needed it”.

“He was a really good and caring dad, he loved his grandkids and would do anything for them,” she said.

He and his wife Judi had been together since they were 15.

David Moresi
David Moresi. Image: Facebook.

December 19, 2019.

Deputy Captain of the Horsley Park volunteer fire brigade Harvey Keaton, 32, died when a tree fell in the path of his truck south west of Sydney.


At the time of his death, his father, who is also a firefighter, was fighting a different fire west of Sydney.

He leaves behind a fiance Jess Hayes, and 18-month-old son named Harvey.

Harvey was awarded a posthumous commendation for bravery and service in his dad's honour, at his funeral this year.

Friend, and fellow firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, also lost his life that night.

"Just a half second either way and they would have been OK," RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said of the incident that led to their death.

Andrew also leaves behind an 18-month-old, and Charlotte received the same honours at her dad's funeral.

His wife Melissa told The Daily Telegraph the brigade had become "aunties and uncles" to both of the children.

Geoffrey with son Harvey and Andrew with daughter Charlotte. Image: NSW RFS.

December 21, 2019.

Ron Selth, 69, died in his Cuddle Creek home in the Adelaide Hills which was destroyed by fire.

He was an engineer, and is survived by his partner Suzy and their children Johanna, Luke and Jasmine, as well as six grandchildren, according to The Adelaide Advertiser.

"He will be remembered for his incredible, sometimes injury-causing hugs and will be deeply missed by his family and his many friends," the family said in a statement.

Ron Selth.
Ron Selth. Image: Facebook.

December 29, 2019.

A man who sheltered in a water tank on his Yarrowitch property in early November died in Sydney's Royal North Shore hospital from his injuries. His identity is unknown publicly, but it has been confirmed he was 59.

December 30, 2019.

Volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul died after his truck flipped in a "fire tornado" on the NSW-Victoria border.

The 10-tonne vehicle ended up on its roof trapping Samuel inside.

The 28-year-old's wife Megan is expecting their first child in May. They only married last year, and this year she accepted his bravery and service award at his funeral.

SBS reports Samuel was a representative basketball player in Wagga Wagga and worked as a mechanic.


A 72-year-old man, unnamed, also died on this day northwest of Cobargo, NSW.

His body was found on a roadway.

December 31, 3019. 

Robert Salway, 63, and his son Patrick Salway, 29, died defending their family property in Wandella north-west of Cobargo, NSW.

Robert was a well-known dairy farmer, and it was his wife (and Patrick's mother) who found their bodies on New Year's Eve.

Patrick's wife of five years Renee, who is expecting the couple's second child, posted a tribute to him on Facebook that read:

"I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will. I will see you again Patrick, my best friend. Hope you are up there 'fixing things in the stars tonight' Love forever Harley & Me."

At the end, she wrote: "Thank you everyone for your concern. We are broken".

He was a professional engineer and the driving force behind the couple's business South Coast Dairy Tech.

January 1, 2020.

Laurie Andrew, 70, was found dead outside a home at Yatte Yattah, west of Lake Conjola.

He is being remembered most by the local surfing community.

"He will be remembered as a stylish surfer, a purveyor of great music and all round great bloke," Mollymook Longboarders spokesperson president Michael Yule said, reports the South Coast Register.

Three people died on this day, who are yet to be named publicly.

A man was found in a car at Sussex Inlet, a person was found outside a Coolagolite home east of Cobargo, and a man was found dead in a car in a road off the Princes Highway at Yatte Yattah.

Mick Roberts died in the bedroom of his East Gippsland home, and was confirmed dead on January 1.

He was a local cattleman and stayed to defend his 180 hectare farm as the fire swept through.

"He would never have left his home no matter what," his sister Jenner Carter told the ABC.


His grand-nephew told the publication he was a hero in the community and "someone you could look up to".

Mick Roberts. Image: 7NEWS.

Fred Becker died of a suspected heart attack after spending the previous 24 hours fighting flames at his property in Maramingo Creek in East Gippsland, Victoria.

He was a third generation timber worker - his father Alex Becker established the area's last family-owned saw mill 90 years ago.

Fred has six brothers and sisters.

Fred Becker
Fred Becker. Image: 7News.

January 3, 2020.

Forest Fires Management worker Mat Kavanagh, 43, died in a car crash on the Goulburn Valley Highway at Thornton in the foothills of the Victorian Alps. A man has been charged with dangerous driving in relation to the crash.

He and wife Jude had two children, six-year-old son Ruben and four-year-old daughter Kate.

He had a passion for the environment and loved fly-fishing.

The day he died he was doing critical work - putting out unattended campfires ahead of the fire front.

Mat Kavanagh
Mat Kavanagh. Image: Victorian Government.

January 4, 2020.

Goulburn man David Harrison died of a heart attack while defending his friend's Batlow property from fire in New South Wales.

The 47-year-old had three older brothers, all of whom were incredibly close.

"It leaves a massive hole," his brother Peter told The Goulburn Post.

"There were always four of us and we were always tight. Now there are only three and there's a missing link in our lives."

David had been determined to help his school friend, whose farm was under threat. His family suspect he became overcome by smoke, heat, stress and dehydration but said he did not have an underlying heart condition that he was aware of.

David Harrison
David Harrison. Image: Facebook.

Dick Lang, 78, and his son Clayton Lang, 43, died when they returned to their family property on Kangaroo Island and became trapped by flames.

Their bodies were found on the highway.

Dick was a pioneering bush pilot and safari operator, who had been offering travellers adventures since 1965.

Clayton was one of four sons, and was one of Adelaide's leading plastic and reconstructive surgeons, specialising in hand surgery.

Clayton and Dick Lang.
Clayton and Dick Lang. Image: Dextrasurgical/ABC.

January 6, 2020.

A 71-year-old man was confirmed dead on a property in the Eurobodalla shire on the South Coast of New South Wales.

He hadn't been heard from since New Year's Eve, and his body was found halfway between his home and his car.

His name is unknown publicly.

January 11, 2020.

Firefighter Bill Slade, 60, died near Omeo in Victoria, after being hit by a tree while containing a fire in the area.

He was the longest serving member of Parks Victoria, and had only just received his 40-year service recognition two months before his death.

He had a wife Carol, and two children Steph and Ethan.

His funeral was held yesterday, at which he was remembered as a "ripper bloke".

"We made a great team, I will miss the great times we had yet to come,” a relative said on Carol's behalf, reports The Australian. “You were always so proud of us and worked so hard to make our lives so happy."

Bill Slade. Image: 9News.

January 18, 2020.

An 84-year-old Cobargo, New South Wales man died in Sydney's Concord hospital from burns he suffered on New Year's Eve.

His name hasn't been shared publicly.

Feature Image: As credited throughout the article.

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