Ken Talbot one of Australia’s richest men missing in Cameroon with other mining chiefs..same day that Cameroon is eliminated from the World Cup..wreckage found..no survivors
Fears are growing for the safety of several Australian mining executives whose plane has gone missing flying from Cameroon to Republic of Congo.
Nine passengers were on board, including one of Australia’s richest men – mining magnate Ken Talbot.
The group set off from the Cameroonian capital Yaounde on Saturday to visit iron ore projects in Yangadou, a remote area in Congo.
Cameroon’s military is leading a ground and air search over dense forest.
The plane the men were travelling on was chartered by the Australian mining company, Sundance Resources.
The area they were visiting includes the Mbalam project which straddles Cameroon and Congo – where Sundance Resources is hoping to extract 35 million tonnes of iron ore a year.
“We are seriously concerned about their safety and well-being,” AFP news agency quotes Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith as saying.
Sundance Resources said after it was reported that the plane had not landed on Saturday its efforts had been focussed on co-ordinating with the authorities in Cameroon, Congo and neighbouring Gabon.
“Weather conditions at site are currently favourable and a comprehensive multi-national air and ground search effort commenced at 1000 local time on Sunday,” the company said in a statement.
“All operations at site have been suspended, with all in-country resources dedicated to this search and rescue effort.”
A UK Foreign Office spokesman said staff in Cameroon were trying to establish who was on the plane, after news agency reports suggested two Britons were among the passengers.
“We are aware of the reports and are investigating. Our embassy staff in Cameroon have been in touch with the Australian Consulate.”
Sundance Resources has requested a trading halt in its shares while it focuses on the search for the plane. Mr Canterbury will continue in his role as acting chief executive, which he had already taken on, while Mr Lewis was out of the country.
The CASA C-212 twin turboprop vanished during a flight from the Cameroon capital Yaounde to Yangadou in the Republic of Congo.
Two Cameroon military reconnaissance plane searches seemed to indicate that the missing plane might have crashed in Cameroon’s south regional town of Djoum, located some 200km south east of Yaounde, officials said earlier today.
“Residents in Djoum said they saw explosions in the air on Saturday,” said a Cameroon official.
Djoum is located some 200km from Yaounde and about 250km from Mbalam, where Sundance has its flagship iron ore project.
The Prime Minister today promised full diplomatic and consular assistance after the twin turboprop plane carrying mining tycoon Ken Talbot and the entire board of Perth-based Sundance Resources disappeared on Saturday.
Cameroon authorities say nine or 10 bodies have been found at the crash scene and there were no survivors.
Mr Smith said disaster victim identification was always lengthy, time consuming and difficult.
”Unfortunately we have to brace ourselves for a painstaking period.”
Mr Smith is confident there will be an exhaustive investigation of the crash, although he noted there would need to be coordination and cooperation between Cameroon and Congo authorities.
”That will have its own difficulties,” he said.
Australia’s high commissioner to Nigeria, who is on the ground in Cameroon, will be in close contact with officials from both nations.
talobot is a huge man in the mining game..hes like australias warren buffet..so its big news that he has died in this crash..i found it quirky that this happened on the day cameroon was kicked out of the world cup..there is likely no connection..just a thought i had..our prayers are with the families..i have owned this stock before..its a world class iron ore deposit and one that plenty of other rivals would love to have..i really hope down the track i dont see a chinese group looking to buy out sundance or something similar..you know?
a mid air explosion..bomb?