Seaplane Which Crashed Killing Six Was Destroyed In Previous Incident – Reports

Seaplane Which Crashed Killing Six Was Destroyed In Previous Incident – Reports

A seaplane that crashed near Sydney killing five Britons has been partially recovered from a river, as it was reported the aircraft had been rebuilt after it was “destroyed” in a fatal incident in the 1990s.

Wreckage of the De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver was lifted out of the Hawkesbury River by a crane barge on Thursday, five days after the New Year’s Eve tragedy.

Richard Cousins, the 58-year-old chief executive of FTSE 100 company Compass Group, died alongside his sons Will and Edward, aged 25 and 23 respectively, his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, and her 11-year-old daughter Heather.

The experienced pilot, Australian Gareth Morgan, 44, also died.

Richard Cousins was among those who died (Compass Group/PA)

According to the Sydney Morning Herald the aircraft, which was first registered in 1964, was used as a crop duster in Australia prior to its life as a seaplane.

On November 15, 1996, it was involved in a crash after taking off from Armidale in north New South Wales in which the pilot was killed.

Under “damage to aircraft” the investigators said it had been “destroyed”, the newspaper reported.

Nat Nagy, executive director of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), was asked about the reports during a press conference as the plane was recovered on Thursday.

“I am aware of a previous incident with this aircraft,” he said. “There were a number of factors involved in that incident and that will be something we look at.

“It’s a matter of course and routine in any investigation to look at… the individual aircraft history and any other incidents that may be relevant.”

The aircraft, owned by Sydney Seaplanes, apparently nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River, 25 miles north of Sydney, at about 3.10pm (4.10am GMT) after setting off from Cottage Point bound for the city’s Rose Bay, close to the harbour, on Sunday.

Detective superintendent Mark Hutchings, of New South Wales Marine Area Command, said it appeared there had been “quite an impact on hitting the water”.

The ATSB said the single-engine seaplane had “sunk rapidly” after impact, while Mr Nagy said the wings and pontoons had separated from the fuselage “either on impact or some time after”.

Police divers recovered six bodies from the scene on New Year’s Eve and teams returned to the site at 6am local time on Thursday (7pm GMT) to begin the process of lifting the wreckage from the water.

Mr Nagy said the seaplane’s fuselage, its floats and one of the wings had been recovered and recovery teams were in the process of lifting the remaining pieces onto the barge.

Once returned to land, the parts will be transferred to a facility in Canberra where they will be subject to a “thorough investigation”, Mr Nagy said.

A preliminary report will be produced in around 30 days, before a full report in around 12 months’ time.


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