The aircraft, which was piloted by a crew of two, had departed from Lamezia Terme International Airport on the Italian mainland earlier that day to conduct wildfire firefighting operations in Sicily.
The firefighting operation was happening in a predominantly rural area, albeit one with hilly and uneven terrain.
Prior to the crash, the aircraft was seen banking heavily, releasing its water shortly before the crash. Its right wing made contact with the side of a mountain, causing aircraft to subsequently break up.
The impact ruptured the aircraft’s fuel tanks, which caught fire. Both crew members onboard were killed.
"I am saddened and very sorry for the two victims of the Linguaglossa accident,” said Director of the Civil Protection of Sicily, Salvo Cocina. “My teams saw the Canadair plummet, then the smoke. The plane is completely destroyed and it seems that there is nothing to do.”
Aerial firefighting operations pose a high risk of crashes. A similar incident occurred on 13 July, when a helicopter operated by the Greek Coast Guard crashed into the Aegean Sea while responding to a forest fire. Both pilots onboard that aircraft also did not survive.