Sydney seaplane wreckage pulled from river after crash

Reports have emerged that the seaplane which left 6 dead on New Year's Eve was involved in similar fatal crash in 1996 

Australian authorities have begun recovering the wreckage of a seaplane that crashed near Sydney on New Year’s Eve, killing five people and the pilot.

ON Sunday, high-profile UK business leader Richard Cousins, four members of his family, and a Canadian pilot died when the plane plunged into a river.

The plane’s cabin was pulled to the surface at about 1:45pm on Thursday, almost three hours after the floats and a damaged wings were first pulled from the water at Jerusalem Bay on the Hawkesbury river.

The record operation started at dawn and was conducted by water police. It involved specialist divers attaching slings to pieces of the plane before they were pulled up to the barge using a crane.

Victims (clockwise from top left) Richard Cousins, Emma Bowden, Will Cousins, Gareth Morgan, Heather Bowden, Ed Cousins
Victims (clockwise from top left) Richard Cousins, Emma Bowden, Will Cousins, Gareth Morgan, Heather Bowden, Ed Cousins

The family, from Tooting, in south-west London, were flying back to Sydney from an exclusive waterfront restaurant in Jerusalem Bay, not far from the crash site.

"We are fortunate and thankful for the outpouring of love and support we've received from across the world," the businessman's brothers, Simon and Andrew Cousins, said on Thursday.

"We are deeply touched by the tributes to Richard, William, Edward, Emma and Heather in the media and throughout the community."

It ha also emerged that the plane with the same serial number was involved in a fatal crash in 1996. The DHC-2 Beaver was used as a crop duster near Armidale when its left wing hit the ground, causing the plane to cartwheel and crash killing the pilot, a safety bureau report stated.

(Photo: The Mirror)
(Photo: The Mirror)

It was rebuilt and has since been owned by several businesses including Sydney Seaplanes.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokeswoman Peter Gibson said the plane was repaired according to the manufacturer’s specifications and checked by qualified engineers.

“They submitted the paperwork and it was re-registered and away it went again,” Gibson said on Thursday. “It was all done as it should have been done.”

The ATSB is working to determine why the seaplane went down on New Year’s Eve. One possibility is the plane stalled.

ATSB investigators have said they will release a preliminary report in about 30 days.

"The full sequence of events leading up to the accident is not fully understood at this stage," said ATSB executive director Nat Nagy on Tuesday.




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