Six people have been killed after a seaplane crashed on New Year’s Eve close to Sydney.
The single-engine plane, which was carrying five passengers and one pilot, tragically crashed at around 3.15pm into the Hawkesbury River, and police have since confirmed there were no survivors.
A search-and-rescue operation later located the submerged aircraft.
NSW Police confirmed all six bodies had been recovered by Sunday evening, and there are now unconfirmed reports the passengers were four British tourists, and and 11-year-old boy, as well as the pilot, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
“Officials from the British consulate are in contact with local authorities in relation to a sea plane accident near Sydney,” a spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office told the publication. “We stand ready to provide consular assistance.”
The plane, now identified as a DHC-2 Beaver Seaplane, is thought to be submerged under 13m of water, and was reportedly on a return flight to Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour from Cottage Point Inn.
Commander of the Kurung-Gai Local Area Command, Acting Superintendent Michael Gorman told reporters on Sunday: “We don’t know why the plane crashed.”
Eyewitness Myles Baptiste told 9News the plane was 500m 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.
Sydney Seaplanes, the company which owned the plane, run scenic trips and sightseeing tours round attractions such as the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Pittwater.
They have now suspended all operations to help police with enquiries.
“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.