NSW bushfire crisis: Body found in home near Moruya on NSW south coast
The body of a man has been found in a home impacted by the bushfires on the NSW south coast.
Police attended a home on Bumbo Rd, Bodalla, southwest of Moruya, yesterday after concerns were raised for the occupant after a fire raged through the area.
Officers found human remains in the home, which had been completely destroyed by fire.
The body has since been identified as local resident Michael Clarke, 59.
The remains were found in the home’s shower, the Today show reported.
According to a neighbour who spoke to Today, Mr Clarke had been speaking to his brother on the phone, explaining how the shed on the property was on fire, before the line went dead.
Within the hour, the fire had engulfed his home.
“Mick was a great guy. My son thought he was like Australia epitomised … He was top guy,” neighbour Robert Eder told Today.
Dozens of homes are thought to have been destroyed when a bushfire spread through the area.
The death comes 24 hours after three US firefighters died when their aerial water tanker crashed northeast of Cooma and on the same day father and son Robert and Patrick Salway, who died protecting their home in nearby Cobargo, were buried.
NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said yesterday this season was the “darkest summer” in the state’s history.
“I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat next year, or the year after or for the next 10 years, but the reality is, we probably will,” he told reporters in Sydney.
NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the state would “forever be indebted” to the sacrifice the three US firefighters made.
Plane owner and operator Coulson Aviation confirmed yesterday captain Ian McBeth, 44, flight engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr, 43, and first officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 42, lost their lives in the crash at Peak View.
The C-130 Hercules crashed just after dropping fire retardant along a ridge, Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Greg Hood said, adding the kilometre-long crash site was “complicated” because it was in an active bushfire area.
ATSB investigators will make the site safe today by securing aviation fuel, the magnesium wheels and any unexploded oxygen bottles.
They will then locate the plane’s voice recorder and take it back to Canberra “to see what the exchanges may have been in the cockpit during those final moments”, Mr Hood told reporters yesterday.
Mr Fitzsimmons said hot, dry and windy conditions on Thursday resulted in flare-ups, fire spreading and new fire ignitions, as well as home losses.
Six firefighters battling the Clyde Mountain blaze on NSW’s south coast were injured when their truck rolled near Moruya.
“We’ve still got to get through the end of January, we’ve still got to get through February, which is one of our months of summer and we still have to get through the end of the statutory bushfire danger period which might be extended — should the circumstances dictate — beyond March,” the RFS boss warned.
While the three-month weather outlook for NSW does include some rainfall, Mr Fitzsimmons said it wouldn’t exceed the average.
“We’re not getting any strong signals of above-average rainfall, drought- breaking rainfall or fire season-ending rainfall.”
About 60 fires continue to burn across NSW but only one is at “watch and act” alert level.
Originally published as Tragic find in NSW south coast bushfire