The Department of Fire and Emergency Services last week rushed a replacement large air tanker to the South West following the shocking crash of the existing tanker based at Busselton Airport on February 6. While that replacement tanker, requested from NSW’s Rural Fire Service, departed again yesterday, a DFES spokesperson told the Times it was available on request when required. The State’s existing Hercules C130 remains stationed in Busselton, with DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm saying Busselton was a key preference for the tankers as a base due to complexities around the Pearce Airbase in Perth. The Times understands talks were also under way with the Federal Government about additional air support. The existing tanker crashed on February 6 while fighting out-of-control bushfires near Ravensthorpe, with the pilots astonishingly walking away unscathed. The two foreign pilots of the ill-fated water bomber plane were retrieved from the crash site without injuries, incredibly walking away from the wreckage and now recovering at home. The pair miraculously survived when their Boeing 737-137 went down in forest between Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun about 4.40pm. The large air tanker had departed Busselton Airport to help battle the blaze just an hour earlier. It comes as shadow Emergency Services Minister Martin Aldridge referred the matter to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority amid concerns about the safety of the plans and questions around why foreign pilots were engaged by contractors Coulsen Aviation. Mr Aldridge said he’d requested the CASA review. “I have asked CASA to immediately review and confirm that operating conditions placed by the regulator on the use of such aircraft remain appropriate and safe,” he said. “You cannot ignore the fact that in just three years we have seen the catastrophic loss of two large air tankers in Australia and the tragic loss of three lives. “737 aircraft are among our safest aircraft in the world, however flying large aircraft at low attitude over unpredictable fire events is not without risk.” The C130 remains on duty until March 31, with its contract extended by 30 days. DFES said WA’s aerial firefighting fleet comprised 36 rotary and fixed-wing suppression and aerial intelligence aircraft, including two Black Hawk helicopters that can hold up to 4500 litres of water or suppressant.