When a seaplane crashed near Sydney on New Year's Eve, killing the pilot, a British businessman, and his four family members, it was, in a sense, deja vu. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a pilot died when the same aircraft crashed in 1996 in Armidale, more than 250 miles from Jerusalem Bay, where it was raised in pieces from more than 40 feet of water on Thursday, per the Guardian. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says it is "aware of a previous incident" and will review "the individual aircraft history and any other incidents that may be relevant" to Sunday's incident, which killed the 44-year-old pilot, as well as 58-year-old Compass Group CEO Richard Cousins; his two adult sons; his 48-year-old fiancee, OK! magazine editor Emma Bowden; and her 11-year-old daughter.
Officials say the 55-year-old plane plunged into the water after departing a waterfront restaurant and sank quickly, per the BBC and ABC Australia. It was found with its wings and pontoons detached from the fuselage, per the Guardian. Decades earlier, the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver was being used to spread fertilizer on an agricultural property when it clipped a hillside in gusty winds and cartwheeled, reports the Herald. Later rebuilt and recertified, it went on to have several owners before Sydney Seaplanes acquired it in the 2000s. A rep for the company says its planes are removed from the water to undergo checks every 100 flying hours and engines are replaced every 1,100 flying hours. The DHC-2's engine had done just 200 flying hours, he says. A preliminary report on the crash is due within 30 days. (Read more Australia stories.)