|Britons killed after sea plane crashes near Sydney|
Added: 01.01.2018 4:06 | 2 views | 0 comments
Four Britons and an 11-year-old boy are believed to be among six people killed when a sea plane plunged into a river on a New Year’s Eve scenic flight north of Sydney. Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred as the party was returning to the city after lunch at an exclusive waterside restaurant. Conditions for yesterday’s flight were cloudy and windy and, according to Channel Seven, the plane, which was at least 50 years old, may have clipped trees before crashing. All six bodies, including that of the pilot, were recovered by police divers following the crash at a quiet inlet of the Hawkesbury River at 3.10pm local time. “We saw a seaplane coming towards us,” said Myles Baptiste, an eyewitness who watched the aircraft make a sharp turn before hitting the water and quickly sinking. He told 9News: “It made a tight right hand turn and as it actually turned around, the wings dipped and it nosedived straight into the water.” The five passengers, that included a child aged about 11, had been dining at Cottage Point Inn restaurant. Foreign Office sources confirmed last night that British nationals had been onboard. Rescue workers recover the body of a passenger and plane debris Credit: Reuters The single-engine DHC-2 Beaver aircraft was operated by Sydney Seaplanes, which offers round trips to Cottage Point Inn for £310 per person that includes the meal. Pippa Middleton and her husband James Matthews took the same Sydney Seaplanes flight to Cottage Point Inn during their honeymoon in June. Other celebrity passengers have included Jeremy Clarkson, Ed Sheeran and Jerry Seinfeld. New South Wales police have not publicly named the victims and were waiting to ensure that next of kin had been notified. The plane is about 40 feet below the surface and is being kept under guard until it can be recovered on Monday. “We don’t know why the plane crashed,” said Acting Superintendent Michael Gorman. “It’s early in the investigation, we are working with the plane company and getting investigators to look at how the plane crashed into the water. Forensic officers are on their way to confirm the identification of those on board, to let their relatives and next of kin know.” The restaurant, about 20 miles north of Sydney, is in a suburb of only 113 people and is difficult to reach by road. The sea plane crashed off Jerusalem Bay near Cowan, north of Sydney on Sunday afternoon The Foreign Office said officials from the British Consulate were in contact with local authorities and it was “ready to provide consular assistance”. Sydney Seaplanes said it did not know the cause of the crash but was assisting authorities with investigations. It has suspended all flights until further notice. “All at Sydney Seaplanes are deeply shocked by this incident and the resulting loss of life,” it said. “We wish to pass on our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the passengers and pilot who were tragically killed… Sydney Seaplanes has been operating since 2005, have undertaken thousands of flights in that period and have had an unblemished safety record until now.” The plane crashed near the Jerusalem Bay inlet, about two miles from the restaurant. The de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver owned by Sydney Seaplanes that crashed into the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney Credit: https://www.seaplanes.com.au/aircraft Helicopter footage captured by local television showed an oil slick where the plane entered the water and an aircraft door floating nearby. Sydney Seaplanes runs regular flights to and from the restaurant. On its website, the company says: “Leave the hustle of Sydney behind as you take to the air for a stunning flight to the award-winning Cottage Point Inn... Upon landing, the aircraft taxis to the restaurant’s exclusive seaplane dock, where staff from Cottage Point Inn will welcome you.” Barbara Amoroso, who was due to take the next flight from the restaurant, told Channel Nine: “I saw people sitting in the front of the plane and I saw the pilot, about six of them.” The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was investigating “the ditching of a single-engine seaplane” and was sending three investigators to the site from Canberra. Police said they were hoping that passengers aboard some of the numerous boats in the area can provide information. “If people have any footage in this day of social media … we would be very interested to see any footage people may have taken of the plane prior to or at the time it crashed into the water,” said Superintendent Gorman. Sydney Seaplanes said its DHC-2 Beaver aircraft can take seven passengers, along with a pilot, and have a cruising speed of 158 miles an hour. “Despite production stopping forty years ago, there are hundreds of these timeless classics still gracing the skies,” the company’s website says. “Our own Beavers have been lovingly restored, equipped with the latest technology and refitted for comfort and style.” Police said they will prepare a report for the state coroner. New South Wales Police Force said divers had recovered six bodies from the scene and an investigation was under way to identify the victims and determine the cause of the crash. Six people including the pilot were on board the plane when it crashed off Jerusalem Bay near Cowan, north of Sydney, at around 3.10pm (4.10am GMT) on Sunday, police said. Local reports said four Britons were among the dead. The Foreign Office was unable to confirm any details of the crash but said British officials are in contact with authorities in Sydney.
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