Fatal crash earlier this week was Australian plane’s 2nd

Police and and Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators board a police boat to go the scene of a seaplane crash in the Hawkesbury River near Sydney, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Police divers recovered the bodies of all six victims a few hours after the crash on Sunday, New South Wales police said. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

International Desk:

A seaplane that crashed north of Sydney this week, killing the Canadian pilot and his five British passengers, had another fatal crash more than 20 years ago, an investigator said on Thursday.

Compass Group chief executive Richard Cousins, 58, his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, her 11-year-old daughter Heather Bowden-Page and his two sons William, 25, and Edward, 23, were killed in the crash Sunday, along with experienced pilot Gareth Morgan, 44.

The de Havilland Beaver, manufactured in 1963 and owned by tourism business Sydney Seaplanes, crashed into the Hawkesbury River after the group had went to a New Year’s Eve lunch.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau executive director Nat Nagy said the accident investigation team would examine the circumstances of a 1996 fatal crash.

“There were a number of factors involved in that incident and that will be something we look at,” Nagy told reporters. He noted it was routine in any investigation to look at the history of an individual aircraft and the history of the aircraft’s type.

The plane had previously been a crop duster that clipped a hillside with a wing and cartwheeled northwest of Sydney, killing the pilot, Fairfax Media reported.

The investigation bureau did not immediately respond to AP’s request for its report on the 1996 tragedy.

A crane lifted most of the plane from the riverbed on Thursday and the wreckage will be examined for clues.unb


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