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Montana flags to fly at half staff in honor of Great Falls airman on Saturday

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 20:08:24-05

Gov. Steve Bullock has ordered Montana flags flown at half staff Saturday for a Montana Air National Guard pilot who died fighting fires in Australia.

Capt. Ian McBeth, 44, died when his air tanker crashed Thursday in the Australian state of New South Wales.

He was in Australia flying for British Columbia-based Coulson Aviation, which had been contracted to fight the fires.

McBeth was a lieutenant colonel in Montana Air National Guard 120th Airlift Wing..

The governor's proclamation noted McBeth was a devoted husband and father, a brave first responder, and selfless service member, who made the ultimate sacrifice.

He is survived by his family, including his three children and wife Bowdie.

Two others were killed in the crash: First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson of Arizona and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. of Florida.