Sydney Seaplanes fleet of four planes will remain grounded and its companion restaurant, The Empire Lounge, will remain closed until further notice following the New Year’s Eve crash which saw the death of five passengers and the plane’s pilot. Sydney Seaplanes hope to reopen the Empire Lounge sometime in the next week, but were unable to give exact dates.
The flight was returning to Rose Bay when it crashed in the vicinity of Jerusalem Bay at around 3pm on December 31 2017. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) are currently investigating the crash of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 aircraft built in 1963. The engine was recently rebuilt and had only clocked 200 hours of flight time (regulations require engines to be replaced every 1200 hours).
Media statements will be released by Sydney Seaplanes as the investigation continues, but owing to the sensitive nature of the incident, press has not been forthcoming. The company has been inactive on social media since the incident, with the exception of a statement from Sydney Seaplanes CEO Aaron Shaw lamenting the deaths of the five passengers (British CEO Richard Cousins, his two sons, his fiancée and her eleven year old daughter) and expressing both sorrow and praise for pilot, Gareth Morgan, who had over 10,000 hours of flight time – 9,000 of which were in seaplanes.
The ATSB hope to file a preliminary report by the end of the month.