Four Britons are feared to be among six people killed after a sea plane crashed and sank in a bay near Sydney, Australia.
The UK Foreign Office said it was in contact with authorities in Sydney following the incident in Jerusalem Bay, near Cowan, north of the New South Wales state capital.
New South Wales Police Force said divers had recovered six bodies from the scene and an investigation was under way to identify the victims and determine the cause of the crash. Local reports said four Britons were among the dead.
A UK Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “Officials from the British consulate are in contact with local authorities in relation to a sea plane accident near Sydney.
“We stand ready to provide consular assistance.” New South Wales Police Force and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) are investigating the cause of the crash, which happened at about 3.10pm local time (4.10am GMT) on Sunday. The ATSB said the single-engine plane operated by Sydney Seaplanes was reported to have “sunk rapidly” after hitting the water.
“At around 3pm this afternoon, a DHC-2 Beaver Seaplane, VH-NOO, operated by Sydney Seaplanes was flying in the vicinity of Jerusalem Bay (near Cottage Point),” the bureau said. “It is understood that there was one pilot and five passengers on the aircraft on a return flight to Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour.
“The sequence of events leading up to the accident are not yet understood, however following the impact with the water, the aircraft is reported to have sunk rapidly.”
9News reported that the group had flown to a restaurant at Cottage Point and was returning to Rose Bay in the city’s eastern suburbs. Myles Baptiste told the broadcaster he saw the plane flying towards him about 500 metres away 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 added