Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One of Australia's richest men is among 11 execs and crew killed in plane crash over Africa

A wrecked plane carrying the top executives of an Australian mining firm -- including one of Australia’s richest men – was found in the dense jungle in Congo on Monday, Sky News reported. There were no survivors.

The 11 missing passengers and crew include one American, two Britons, six Australians and two French nationals. The plane was en route from Cameroon to the Democratic Republic of Congo when it fell off the radar not long after takeoff, the London Times reported.

The aircraft had been chartered by Sundance Resources, an Australian mining company.

Search teams from the armed forces of Cameroon, Congo and Gabon were hampered in their earlier hunt by a thick fog.

The six Australian passengers represented the entire board of Sundance: Chairman Geoff Wedlock, CEO Don Lewis and staffers John Carr-Gregg, Ken Talbot, John Jones and Craig Oliver.

Natasha Flacon Brian, a French national and executive assistant of The Talbot Group, a private investment firm, also was onboard. The other French national, the Britons and the American have not yet been named.

The plane was flying from Mbalam, Cameroon, to Yangadou in Congo. Both stops were near Sundance mining sites.

Sundance executive Ken Talbot, one of the richest men in Australia, has an estimated worth of $AU1 billion ($880 million). Talbot, 59, founded the mining company Macarthur Coal. He left the firm following allegations of corruption in which he was accused of depositing funds into a government official’s account. He was due to go on trial in August.

Sundance halted trading of its shares, and CFO Peter Canterbury was named acting chief executive. “This is a deeply distressing time for the families of the missing, their friends and work colleagues,” Canterbury said.

The firm’s executives were in Cameroon to discuss the Mbalam project, which reportedly could earn the African country billions of dollars over the next 25 years.



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/06/21/2010-06-21_australians_plane_found_with_no_survivorsentire_board_of_mining_co_dies_in_crash.html#ixzz0rbACCgqM

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