Richard Cousins tragedy: Seaplane crash which killed family a tragic accident, inquest is told

Wellington | News | Published:

A family from the UK, including a businessman with connections to Shropshire, died from a combination of multiple injuries and drowning following a seaplane crash in Australia, an inquest heard.

Richard Cousins

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

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.

He used to bat for Wellington Cricket Club’s second team when he lived in the town in the late 1980s and was also chairman of the club’s cricket committee for several years, staying in touch with members regularly.

He had been in Australia as part of a family holiday in which they took in the England Ashes tour.

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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 30 miles north of Sydney.

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 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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