Cameroon: plane carrying Australian execs found
JAKNEWS.COM---Search teams on Monday (21/6) found the wreckage of a small plane that disappeared over the weekend carrying 11 people, including top executives of an Australian mining company, a spokesman for Cameroon's government said. No survivors were found.
Spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said the missing plane was discovered Monday afternoon in dense jungle inside Republic of Congo.
The aircraft, chartered by Australian company Sundance Resources Ltd., disappeared Saturday half an hour after it left Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, en route for Yangadou in Republic of Congo to visit an iron ore mining site, Cameroon's government said. It said 11 people had been aboard, including six Australians, two French, an American and two Britons.
Among the passengers were Sundance chairman Geoff Wedlock and CEO Don Lewis. Trading in Sundance Resources shares was put on hold Monday because of the incident.
The search was being coordinated by Cameroon, Gabonese and Republic of Congo authorities with support from Australian, Canadian and U.S. foreign officials.
Earlier Monday, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen said the plane made two routine radio calls during its flight, one of them 30 minutes after takeoff. Neither of the calls indicated the plane was in any trouble. Weather conditions were generally good at the time of the flight.
Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters in Canberra the government would leave "no stone unturned in our efforts to try and help what is a concerning set of developments for these Australians."
Sundance executives had been in Cameroon in recent days to meet with officials about the company's Mbalam project, which could earn the West African country billions of dollars over 25 years, according to the Cameroon official.
Sundance has a 90 percent stake in Cameroon Iron Ore Company (Camiron S.A.) which owns more than 1,000 square miles (1,800 square kilometers) of fields with estimated reserves of 2.2 million tons of mineral resources.
Republic of Congo is located in central Africa and often is overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, Congo.