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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

British businessman among dead in Sydney seaplane crash

The bodies of all of those on board — one pilot and five passengers — have been recovered from the wreckage

An Australian policewoman holds a piece of debris from a seaplane that crashed on Sunday killing six people at Apple Tree Bay located on the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney in Australia, December 31, 2017. Picture taken December 31, 2017. AAP/Perry Duffin/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. AUSTRALIA OUT. NEW ZEALAND OUT.
An Australian policewoman holds a piece of debris from a seaplane that crashed on Sunday killing six people at Apple Tree Bay located on the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney in Australia, December 31, 2017. Picture taken December 31, 2017. AAP/Perry Duffin/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. AUSTRALIA OUT. NEW ZEALAND OUT.

A British businessman and his family were among six people killed in a New Year's Eve seaplane crash in Australia, police said on Monday.

The plane went down on Sunday in the Hawkesbury River near the suburb of Cowan, about 50 kilometres north of Sydney, as New Year's revellers on the banks looked on.

The bodies of all of those on board — one pilot and five passengers — have been recovered from the wreckage, with Richard Cousins, chief executive of British catering company Compass, identified as among the dead.

Cousins' two sons in their early 20s and his fiancee and her 11-year-old daughter were also killed in the crash.

"The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard's family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies with them," Compass group chairman Paul Walsh said.

Cousins, who was recently named by Harvard Business Review as one of the world's best-performing chief executives, was to step down this year.

New South Wales detective superintendent Mark Hutchings said all passengers on board were British nationals and the pilot Australian.

The cause of the accident is unknown and an investigation is taking place.

Witnesses recalled seeing the aircraft, a DHC-2 Beaver which was heading to Rose Bay in Sydney Harbour, take a sharp turn before plummeting straight into the water.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose father died in a light plane accident, paid his respects to the families of those killed.

"We grieve for those who've lost their lives, and again, our thoughts and prayers are with their families as they come to terms with this terrible loss," he said.

The flight company Sydney Seaplanes has suspended its operations.