Seaplane which crashed killing six was destroyed in previous incident - reports

A seaplane that crashed near Sydney killing five Britons has been partially recovered from a river, as it was reported the aircraft had been rebuilt after it was "destroyed" in a fatal incident in the 1990s.

Wreckage of the De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver was lifted out of the Hawkesbury River by a crane barge on Thursday, five days after the New Year's Eve tragedy.

Richard Cousins, the 58-year-old chief executive of FTSE 100 company Compass Group, died alongside his sons Will and Edward, aged 25 and 23 respectively, his fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, and her 11-year-old daughter Heather.

Richard Cousins was among those who died (Compass Group/PA)
Richard Cousins was among those who died (Compass Group/PA)

The experienced pilot, Australian Gareth Morgan, 44, also died.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald the aircraft, which was first registered in 1964, was used as a crop duster in Australia prior to its life as a seaplane.

On November 15, 1996, it was involved in a crash after taking off from Armidale in north New South Wales in which the pilot was killed.

Under "damage to aircraft" the investigators said it had been "destroyed", the newspaper reported.

The ATSB held a joint media briefing with the NSW Police Force today on the DH C-2 Beaver Seaplane accident at Cowan Creek, Hawkesbury River, NSW. https://t.co/M2g7D9Ydxh

-- ATSB (@atsbinfo) January 4, 2018

Nat Nagy, executive director of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, was asked about the reports during a press conference as the plane was recovered on Thursday.

"I am aware of a previous incident with this aircraft," he said.

"There were a number of factors involved in that incident and that will be something we look at.

"It's a matter of course and routine in any investigation to look at ... the individual aircraft history and any other incidents that may be relevant."

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