Sydney seaplane crash kills Compass chief

Sydney seaplane crash kills Compass chief
From BBC - January 1, 2018

Tributes have been paid to the UK family killed in a seaplane crash near Sydney on New Year's Eve.

Colleagues of Richard Cousins, 58, chief executive of one of the world's largest catering companies, Compass Group, described his "great humanity".

He died alongside his fiance, magazine editor Emma Bowden, 48, her 11-year-old daughter Heather, and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, a campaigner.

Australian pilot Gareth Morgan, who also died, was known as "a gentle guy".

All six died when the seaplane - which belonged to a firm running sightseeing tours - plunged into a river 30 miles (50km) north of Sydney.

'Deeply shocked'

The family, from Tooting, in south-west London, were reportedly flying back to Sydney from an exclusive waterfront restaurant in Jerusalem Bay on New Year's Eve.

The crash happened in Hawkesbury River, near the suburb of Cowan, at about 15:10 local time (04:10 GMT) on Sunday, police said.

The cause is not yet known and investigators say it could be many months before they can piece together events.

Richard Cousins had been chief executive of the FTSE 100 firm Compass Group in Surrey since 2006 - and had been due to retire in September.

Compass chairman Paul Walsh said the firm was "deeply shocked and saddened".

"It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for the last few years," he said.

"Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain's leading companies."

Mr Cousins, a huge cricket fan, was a regular visitor to the Kia Oval in Kennington.

'Great heart'

His son, William Cousins, was head of press for Open Britain, which campaigns against a hard Brexit.

The group's chairman Roland Rudd said he was "an extraordinary young man who took deep pride in his work" and would be "missed beyond words".

Labour MP Chuka Umunna described William as "an absolute pleasure to work with, utterly dedicated to the cause, dynamic and full of enthusiasm".

"He went about things with great heart and humour," he added.

Fellow Labour MP Chris Leslie tweeted that William was an "exceptionally talented head of press" who would be deeply missed.


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