Police confirm 11-year-old girl among five Britons killed in seaplane crash north of Sydney

Police confirm 11-year-old girl among five Britons killed

Police name the five passengers aged between 11 and 58 who died, along with Australian pilot Garath Morgan, when plane crashed on New Year’s Eve

Police have confirmed the passengers killed on the seaplane that crashed north of Sydney on New Year’s Eve were a family visiting Australia from the UK.

Experienced Australian pilot Garath Morgan, 44, died when the aircraft he was flying crashed into Jerusalem Bay. On board were British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, her daughter Heather Bowden, 11, and his sons, Edward Cousins, 23, and William Cousins, 25.

On Monday the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the crash. “It is a tragic accident and ... our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were lost,” he told reporters at Bondi beach on Monday. “We don’t know yet what caused it, but it’s just a tragedy. We grieve for those who lost their lives.”

The six died when the plane crashed into the Hawkesbury river near Cowan, north of Sydney, at about 3.10pm on Sunday. It was believed to be heading for Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour.

Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings said authorities have been in contact with their British counterparts, but the coroner had yet to formally identify the victims.

The plane had not yet been recovered by Monday lunchtime as police assessed the logistics of refloating the wreckage. The plane will need to be brought back to the surface before air-crash investigators can piece together what went wrong.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the incident.

Operator Sydney Seaplanes provides tours of some of the city’s most popular tourist sites including the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Pittwater and the Hawkesbury River region.

The managing director of Sydney Seaplanes, Aaron Shaw, said on Sunday: “All at Sydney Seaplanes are deeply shocked by this incident and the resulting loss of life. We wish to pass on our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the passengers and pilot who were tragically killed. We do not yet know the cause of the accident.”

He said the company had been operating since 2005 and had no history of previous accidents. It had “undertaken thousands of flights in that period and … had an unblemished safety record until now”, he said.

The plane was travelling from the picturesque Cottage Point Inn to Rose Bay, on Sydney Harbour.

One witness, Myles Baptiste, told Channel Nine the plane was 500 metres from him when it hit the water. “It made a tight right-hand turn and as it actually turned around, the wings dipped and it nosedived straight into the water,” he said.

Richard Cousins was the group chief executive of the world’s largest catering company, Compass Group. The company confirmed his death and the death of his family members in a statement. Cousins was due to stand down from his position in March.

Paul Walsh, Compass Group Chairman, said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news. The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.”

“It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for the last few years. Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain’s leading companies.”

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Cousins had also served on the board of supermarket Tesco, and had previously been named as one of the world’s 100 best-performing chief executives by the Harvard Business Review.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was “providing consular assistance to the families of five British tourists who have sadly died in a seaplane accident near Sydney”.

“Our sympathies are with their families and friends at this difficult time.”

Source: theguradian

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