Australia plane crash: Canadian pilot and Compass Group CEO, 4 others killed

A prominent British businessman and four members of his family died in a seaplane crash in Australia that also claimed the life of the Canadian pilot.

A relative confirmed to CBC News that pilot Gareth Morgan was from North Vancouver

A diver is seen entering the water from rescue vessel after a seaplane crashed into a Sydney river, killing six people on a sightseeing flight on Dec. 31. (Nine Network via Reuters TV)

A prominent British businessman and four members of his family died in a seaplane crash in Australia that also claimed the life of the Canadian pilot.

Officials said Monday that Compass Group CEO Richard Cousins, his fiancée and her daughter, and his two sons died.

Det. Supt. Mark Hutchings of the New South Wales Police identified the family members as Richard Cousins, 58; Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather, 11; Edward Cousins, 23, and William Cousins, 25.

Richard Cousins, chief executive officer of Compass Group, is shown during a Bloomberg Television interview in London on Nov. 22, 2016. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cousins had recently been recognized by the Harvard Business Review for his performance as CEO of the multinational catering company. He had planned to step down from his post in March.

Officials said the single-engine plane sank rapidly after crashing into the Hawkesbury River. All of the bodies have been recovered.

Sydney Seaplanes has suspended its flights as the crash is investigated.

Compass operates in about 50 countries, according to its website. Its Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ont.

'Extremely experienced' Canadian pilot killed

Gareth Morgan, who was piloting the plane from the tour company Sydney Seaplanes, also died in the Sunday afternoon crash during a holiday trip.

A relative confirmed to CBC News that Morgan was from North Vancouver.

A Facebook memorial page was created for Morgan early Monday.

In a statement, Sydney Seaplanes managing director Aaron Shaw called Morgan "an extremely experienced pilot, with over 10,000 hours total time, of which approximately 9,000 hours was seaplane time."

Shaw said Morgan was working his second stint with Sydney Seaplanes — the first from 2011 to 2014, the second starting in May of 2017 — and Morgan personally flew him and his family just before Christmas.

Shaw also said he has "spoken to Gareth's parents, who live in Canada, and offered our deepest sympathies and we will support them in any way we can."

Austin Jean, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said the federal government is aware of reports that a Canadian citizen had died in Australia.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with those affected by this incident in Australia," Jean wrote in an email. 

He said consular officials in Sydney are prepared to offer support to the family as needed.

With files from CBC News and Reuters