NEWS
01/01/2018 11:35 GMT | Updated 01/01/2018 13:55 GMT

Will Cousins Among Family Killed In Sydney Seaplane Crash

He was just 25.

A prominent anti-Brexit campaigner has been named as one of those killed when a seaplane crashed in Sydney, Australia, on New Year’s Eve.

Will Cousins, just 25-years-old, was Head of Press for the Open Britain group.

He died alongside his father Richard, 58, brother Edward, 23, and Richard’s fiancée, Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather Bowden, 11.

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Will Cousins was just 25-years-old.

Roland Rudd, Chairman of Open Britain, said: “All of us at Open Britain are devastated by the tragic loss of Will and his family.

“Will was an extraordinary young man who was passionate about what he did; who took deep pride in his work; and came into the office every day with enthusiasm, energy and determination.

“Will saw his role at Open Britain as more than a job. For him, it was a cause akin to a crusade to stop Britain crashing out of the EU with no deal or a bad deal.

“Will was a great team player who loved the camaraderie of our young team and developed close relationships with all his colleagues. He will be missed beyond words.”

Lucy Thomas who was Deputy Director of the Remain campaign, said: “Will was a great big warm hug of a man. A gentle giant with incredible wit and good humour.

“Today is an incredibly sad day and Cuzza will be sorely missed, with his exceptionally bright future cut far too short. But we can be thankful for his wonderful humour, enduring enthusiasm and decency.

“Let’s hope politics in 2018 can be a little more like him.”  

James McGrory, Executive Director of Open Britain, added: “The dreadful news about Will and his family has left all of us at Open Britain in shock and deep sorrow.

“Will was one of the most impressive people you could ever work with. His ability, dedication and passion were an inspiration to everyone around him. At such a young age, he had mastered skills that elude many for their entire careers.

“We have not just lost a special colleague but a wonderful friend. Will’s razor-sharp wit, easy company and generosity will be missed even more than his huge brain, peerless prose and fearless ideas.

“Words cannot express how much I and the rest of the team at Open Britain will miss Will. We have lost a brilliant colleague and a true friend.”

Will’s father, Richard, was CEO of FTSE 100 company Compass Group – the world’s largest catering company.

Police said the group were on holiday in Australia from the UK, and were on a return flight to Sydney’s Rose Bay, close to Sydney Harbour, when the crash happened.

The plane came down off Jerusalem Bay near Cowan, 25 miles north of Sydney centre, at about 3.10pm (4.10am GMT) on Sunday, reports the Press Association.

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Richard, who was recently named as one of the world’s best-performing CEOs by the Harvard Business Review, was due to stand down as chief executive of Compass in March.

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Richard Cousins.

Paul Walsh, the firm’s 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.

Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings, head of the New South Wales marine area command, told a press conference the crash “can only be described as a tragic accident”.

He added: “These people had come over on holiday to one of the most beautiful parts of the world and for this to happen at a place like this is just tragic.”

Emma Bowden and her daughter, Heather.

The sixth person who died was named as Australian pilot Gareth Morgan, 44, who worked for tour company Sydney Seaplanes.

He was said to have been an experienced pilot.

Sydney Seaplanes, which has flown passengers including singer Ed Sheeran and Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews, said it was “deeply shocked” by the “tragic accident”. 

The single-engine plane “sunk rapidly” after hitting Hawkesbury River, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said.

Police divers were flown to the scene, and all six bodies were recovered on Sunday evening.

It may take several days to recover the wreckage of the plane.