Richard Cousins, CEO of the world’s biggest catering company Compass, died along with his sons Edward and William
A multimillionaire food boss and his family were among five British citizens killed in a plane crash in Sydney, Australia.
Richard Cousins, CEO of the world’s largest catering company Compass, died alongside his sons Edward, 23, and William, 25, in the New Year’s Eve tragedy.
His fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, her 11-year-old daughter Heather, and the 44-year-old Australian pilot Gareth Morgan also perished when the aircraft plunged into the Hawkesbury River shortly after 3pm.
All were known to each other, it is understood, and had enjoyed a lunch at the famous Cottage Point Inn, a picturesque venue on the coast of New South Wales.
The plane was headed on a pleasure flight back to Rose Bay when it plunged into the water shortly after take-off, according to reports.
The cause of the New Year’s Eve crash is currently unclear.
Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings, head of the New South Wales marine area command, told a press conference the family had been visiting from the UK.
He said: “These people had come over on holiday to one of the most beautiful parts of the world and for this to happen at a place like this is just tragic.”
“We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of those people that perished. This can only be described as a tragic accident, and our hearts go out to them.”
Mr Cousins was one of Britain’s best-known businessmen.
He was due to retire from Compass at the end of March after 11 years at the helm.
He was credited with steering the company from a difficult point in 2006 to enjoying steady growth over the following decade.
According to the Financial Times, Mr Cousins earned a total of £5.8m in salary, bonus, share options and his pension.
Compass Group chairman Paul Walsh said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news.
“The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.
“Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain’s leading companies.”
Police in New South Wales say the single-engine plane sank after smashing into the river.
It is said to be now lying under around 42 feet of water.
The British Embassy in Australia tweeted: “We are providing consular assistance to the families of five British tourists who have sadly died in a sea plane accident near Sydney.
“Our sympathies are with their families and friends at this difficult time.”
A Sydney Seaplanes spokesman confirmed the aircraft involved in the deadly crash was one of theirs and that they were working with police.
“Obviously we are very concerned and trying to determine the details at this point,” a spokesman said.
Sydney Seaplanes offers flights over the city, with passengers treated to sights such as the famous Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Source: The Mirror