Australian PM apologises for holiday as firefighters die in bushfire

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Two volunteer firefighters in Australia have died during the ongoing operation to contain the devastating bushfires on the country’s east coast.

Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, were killed on Thursday when the fire truck they were travelling in hit a tree and rolled over and crashed just south of Sydney.

The two men were in the front of the truck, and police added that three other passengers survived with a few injuries.

Two firefighters die while battling bushfires in Australia
A composite of supplied photos by Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service (RSF) shows late NSW RFS firefighters Andrew O’Dwyer (L) and Geoffrey Keaton (R). Horsley Park brigade firefighters Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, died on 19 December when their truck overturned after a tree fell into their path as they were battling to contain a bushfire near the town of Buxton. EPA-EFE/SUPPLIED HANDOUT

The country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison has come under criticism in recent days, over his decision to take an overseas holiday to Hawaii during the blazes.

However, on Friday morning, Mr Morrison issued a statement, saying he would be returning to Australia as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, a state of emergency was declared in New South Wales, after Australia broke its heat records for the second day running, with maximum temperatures reaching an average of 41.9C.

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