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British tourist’s camera holds clues to fatal seaplane crash

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Photos taken by one of the British victims of a plane crash on New Year’s Eve last year are helping investigators piece together why the aircraft came down.

Richard Cousins, the 58-year-old chief executive of FTSE 100 company Compass Group, died alongside his sons, Will and Edward, aged 25 and 23, his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, and her 11-year-old daughter Heather, when the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver plunged into water in Jerusalem Bay, 25 miles north of Sydney city centre.

The seaplane’s pilot, 44-year-old Gareth Morgan also died.

Richard Cousins, Will Cousins, Ed Cousins, Emma and Heather Bowden
Image:
Richard Cousins, Will Cousins, Ed Cousins, Emma and Heather Bowden

An interim report into the accident has said pictures from Canon digital camera recovered from the wreckage, along with eyewitness accounts, have helped investigators piece together what happened in the moments before the crash.

A preliminary report earlier this year said the plane had hit an area of water away from the expected and standard flight path, before colliding with the water in a near-vertical position.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) executive director Nat Nagy said: “With no on-board data available from the aircraft itself, transport safety investigators have been able to use witness statements and images retrieved from one of the passenger’s cameras to determine what happened in the lead-up to this accident.

“The ATSB’s investigation is continuing and will now look at a number of factors surrounding the pilot’s health and medical history.

“We have engaged an aviation medical specialist to assist with reviewing the pilot’s medical records as well as the autopsy results, which the ATSB has recently received over the past month.

“That review is now under way and we expect the results to appear from that over the coming months.”

The final report into the crash will be released next year.

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