The Congolese airline and plane involved in the west African air crash that killed the entire board of the Perth-based mining company Sundance Resources had been banned by Australia’s leading risk management and specialised insurance firm.
Sundance Resources yesterday maintained it was fully insured for the tragedy even though the group flew together on the same charter plane, in breach of industry protocols as well as the company’s own travel policy.
Cameroon’s aviation authority said today it had retrieved and identified all 11 bodies from Saturday’s crash, among them Queensland mining magnate and Sundance non-executive director Ken Talbot, chairman Geoff Wedlock, chief executive Don Lewis, company secretary John Carr-Gregg, and non-executive directors John Jones and Craig Oliver.
American Jeff Duff from risk management company Dynamiq as well as two British and two French were also on the Casa C212 plane, which was finally located late on Monday afternoon, Congolese time, on the western ridge of the Avima Range in the Republic of Congo, near the Gabonese border.
Dynamiq have been a key adviser for Sundance providing crisis and emergency management, and security and logistics support. They have been a valued and highly professional partner for several years,” Sundance Resources sais in a joint statement with the security company.
Peter Stening, the co-founder of Stening Simpson, the largest risk management firm in the Asia-Pacific region, said yesterday that he was “staggered” that standard procedures to protect VIPs and corporate leaders travelling in danger zones and Third World countries had not been followed.
Mr Stening said that his firm had banned the use of both the Congo-based airline, Aero-Service, and the aircraft type, a twin-prop CASA C-212, as they were flagged as having poor safety records in aviation databases.
He also said that the Sundance executives should have been shuttled to the company’s Mbalam iron ore operation in smaller groups if only one approved charter plane was available.
“This should never have happened. We would never, ever allow a company’s board to travel on the same aircraft. It’s nonsensical. You just don’t do it. The risk is too high,” Mr Stening told The Australian.
Questions about the planning for the trip have also been raised after Sundance was forced to charter a plane from Aero-Service after its initial carrier of choice, Jetfly, did not receive the required clearances to travel into Congo airspace.
The group had flown to Africa on Talbot’s private 19-seater jet. However, it was too big to land at the airstrip nearest to Mbalam.