Tributes to firemen killed battling blazes
PM SORRY FOR TAKING HOLIDAY
TRIBUTES have been paid to two volunteer firefighters who died while battling wildfires in Australia, forcing PM Scott Morrison to cut short his family holiday.
Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, were in a truck convoy fighting blazes south-west of Sydney when a tree fell and caused the vehicle to roll off the road. The two men, both fathers to 19-month-old children, died at the scene while three other firefighters were injured.
Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons spent the night consoling families of the victims. “To not be coming home after their shift is a tremendous grief,” he told reporters. Mr Morrison said the firefighters were “bravely defending their communities with an unmatched spirit and a dedication that will forever set them apart amongst our most courageous Australians”. Mr Morrison has received criticism for going to Hawaii during the crisis, but said he would cut short his holiday and return to Sydney today.
“I deeply regret any offence caused to any of the many Australians affected by the terrible bushfires by my taking leave with family at this time,” Mr Morrison said.