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Sydney seaplane: Six dead as aircraft crashes in river

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Media captionPolice divers attended the scene of the crash

Six people have died after a seaplane plunged into a river in Australia some 30 miles (50km) north of Sydney.

Five of those killed were British nationals – one of them was an 11-year-old girl. They died alongside the pilot, who was Australian.

The crash happened on the Hawkesbury River near the suburb of Cowan.

The single-engine aircraft belonged to sightseeing flight company Sydney Seaplanes. Investigators do not yet know why it crashed.

Acting Superintendent Michael Gorman from New South Wales police said the “recovery operation continues” at the site.

The wreckage is lying in 13m (43ft) of water.

The Foreign Office in London said: “Officials from the British consulate are in contact with local authorities in relation to a seaplane accident near Sydney. Staff are ready to provide consular assistance.”

An eyewitness, Myles Baptiste, told the broadcaster 9News that the plane was 500m (1,640ft) from him when it hit the water.

“It made a tight right-hand turn and as it actually turned around, the wings dipped and it nosedived straight into the water,” he said.

A woman at the scene told local TV the weather had been “a bit bumpy” but “nothing to be concerned about”.

Some debris was recovered from the water on Sunday.

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Officers recovered some debris from the seaplane

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Sydney Seaplanes offers scenic flights over local tourist attractions and waterways including the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Pittwater, as well as the Hawkesbury River region.

The firm said it was suspending all operations until further notice and was helping police with the investigation into the cause of the crash.

“All at Sydney Seaplanes are deeply shocked by this incident and the resulting loss of life. We wish to pass on our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the passengers and pilot who were tragically killed,” the company said in a statement.

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