Sydney seaplane: UK family members ‘drowned in crash’

Richard Cousins, Emma Bowden, Will Cousins, Gareth Morgan, Heather Bowden, Ed Cousins (clockwise from top left)Image copyright PA and Facebook
Image caption Richard Cousins, Emma Bowden, Will Cousins, Gareth Morgan, Heather Bowden, Ed Cousins (clockwise from top left) all died

A family from the UK who were killed in a seaplane crash near Sydney died from a combination of multiple injuries and drowning, an inquest heard.

Richard Cousins, 58, sons, Edward, 23 and William, 25, as well as Emma Bowden and her daughter Heather, 11, died when the plane crashed into a river.

At Reading Coroner’s Court, senior coroner Peter Bedford said the crash on New Year’s Eve was a “tragic incident”.

A full inquest has been suspended pending an investigation in Australia.

Mr Cousins, chief executive of Compass Group – one of the world’s largest catering companies – was travelling back to Sydney with his family reportedly from an exclusive waterfront restaurant in Jerusalem Bay.

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Media captionThe crash on New Year’s Eve killed six people

The crash, which also killed Sydney-based pilot Gareth Morgan, 44, happened in Hawkesbury River, near the suburb of Cowan.

Australian authorities recovered most of the wreckage of the plane in January.

The De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver – including its fuselage, floats and a wing – was retrieved from the river about 50km (30 miles) north of Sydney.

Image copyright David Oates
Image caption The crash involved a single-engine DHC-2 Beaver Seaplane

The coroner adjourned the inquests pending the investigation by New South Wales police.

Mr Bedford added he was taking on jurisdiction of the inquest because Mr Cousins’ brother, and two of his children, now live in Bracknell, Berkshire.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigators have said they will release a preliminary report into the crash later this month.

Officials also said a crash involving the same plane in 1996 would form part of their wide-ranging investigation.

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