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New water-bombing record at Bundaberg Airport

114 planes were filled at Bundaberg Regional Airport on Tuesday
114 planes were filled at Bundaberg Regional Airport on Tuesday

A new record was set on Tuesday at Bundaberg Airport for the greatest number of water-bombing aircraft filled in a single day.

A total of 114 plane loads of water and foam left the airport to help firefighting efforts at Gregory River.

Airport manager Greg Barrington said the crews did an amazing job.

“Every couple of minutes a plane was landing, being filled and flying off to fight the fires,” Greg said.

“As well as the planes there were also three helicopters taking water from local dams, so it was a huge logistical operation.

“The fire came within four metres of the clubhouse at the Gliding Club but the crews saved it, and they saved the Christmas tree, which has become legendary.”

SES Local Controller Kieran Galey said the whole operation went smoothly under the circumstances.

SES Crew on record-breaking day
SES crew on the record-breaking day.

“Our SES crews haven’t stopped since the start of the fire season in mid-September, but this week has been particularly busy,” he said.

“Our SES team have completed over 60 different tasks and support to the QFES and Rural Fire Services, including filling the planes and feeding the pilots so they can continue on their way.

“The previous record for number of planes filled [at the Bundaberg airport] was 80 planes in one day during the Woodgate fires, but we certainly broke that on Tuesday.”

With conditions easing slightly, the SES are hoping that fires will lessen.

“We still have five planes in the air today, so the threat isn’t over yet.”

Kieran has a simple request of the public.

“Please continue to listen to reports and warnings and stay out of the area if you don’t need to be there,” he said.

Some crews are having a break over Christmas, with Brisbane crews coming up to relieve.

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