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Compass Group CEO Richard Cousins, family killed in Australia seaplane crash

Police and and Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators board a police boat to go the scene of a seaplane crash in the Hawkesbury River near Sydney, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Police divers recovered the bodies of all six victims a few hours after the crash on Sunday, New South Wales police said.

Rick Rycroft / AP

LONDON -- A prominent British businessman and his family have been identified as victims of a seaplane crash in Australia.

Officials said Monday that Compass Group CEO Richard Cousins, his fiancee and her daughter, and his two sons were killed. Australian pilot Gareth Morgan from the tour company Sydney Seaplanes also died in the Sunday afternoon crash during a holiday trip.

Cousins had recently been recognized by the Harvard Business Review for his performance as CEO of the multinational catering company, ranked as the 11th best performing CEO in the world. The 58-year-old planned to step down from his post in March.

Officials said the single-engine plane sank rapidly after crashing into the Hawkesbury River. The bodies have been recovered.

Sydney Seaplanes has suspended its flights as the crash is investigated.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news," Compass chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement.