Four Brits feared dead as plane crashes in Sydney
Four Brits have reportedly been killed in a plane crash in Sydney, Australia.
Divers have recovered six bodies from the scene of the sea plane crash and an investigation is under way to identify the victims and determine the cause of the crash.
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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 – one of whom was an 11-year-old boy.
The Foreign Office was unable to confirm any details of the crash but said British officials are in contact with authorities in Sydney.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Officials from the British consulate are in contact with local authorities in relation to a sea plane accident near Sydney.
‘We stand ready to provide consular assistance.’
New South Wales Police Force and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) are investigating the cause of the crash.
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The ATSB said the single-engine plane operated by Sydney Seaplanes is reported to have ‘sunk rapidly’ after hitting the water.
‘At around 3pm this afternoon, a DHC-2 Beaver Seaplane, VH-NOO, operated by Sydney Seaplanes was flying in the vicinity of Jerusalem Bay (near Cottage Point),’ the bureau said.
‘It is understood that there was one pilot and five passengers on the aircraft on a return flight to Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour.
‘The sequence of events leading up to the accident are not yet understood, however following the impact with the water, the aircraft is reported to have sunk rapidly.’
Sydney Seaplanes said it was ‘deeply shocked’ by the ‘tragic accident’ involving one of its aircraft.
Aaron Shaw, managing director, said in a statement: ‘All at Sydney Seaplanes are deeply shocked by this incident and the resulting loss of life.
‘We wish to pass on our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the passengers and pilot who were tragically killed.
‘We do not yet know the cause of the accident.
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‘We are dedicating our full resources in assisting the NSW Police, the Australian Transport Safety Board, Civil Aviation Safety Authority and other relevant authorities to understand the cause of the accident.”
He added: ‘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 safety of our passengers and staff is our absolute primary and highest priority.
‘Our aircraft are professionally maintained to manufacturer’s specifications and our seaplane pilots are some of the most experienced in the world.’
The company has suspended all operations until further notice, Mr Shaw said.
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