Recovery experts are expected to soon gain access to the site where a plane carrying all of an Australian mining company’s board members crashed in west Africa several days ago.
Sundance Resources chairman Geoff Wedlock, chief executive Don Lewis, company secretary John Carr-Gregg and non-executive directors Ken Talbot, John Jones and Craig Oliver were among 11 people who died when the twin-engine CASA 212 crashed on Saturday on the western ridge of Congo’s Avima Range, near the Gabonese border.
The plane was flying from Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, to the site of the Perth based Sundance’s Mbalam iron ore project near Yangadou in northwest Congo-Brazzaville.
The company said in a statement that it expected to gain access to the site by Thursday morning local time, which is seven hours behind AEST.
“Sundance has deployed a second team of specialist recovery experts from South Africa and they are en route to the crash site to assist in the recovery operation,” Sundance said in a statement on Thursday.
“Sundance expects that they will have access to the crash site on Thursday morning (local time), subject to weather conditions.
“Concurrently, work by Australian contractors to clear vegetation for site access from Avima has continued however progress was slowed due to the dense jungle and the steep terrain.
“Given the difficult location of the crash site, the timing of repatriation to Brazzaville is not yet known.
“At this time the bodies have not been removed from the site and the company cannot predict when this will take place,” the company said.
“Sundance reaffirms that all efforts are directed at completing the safe removal and repatriation of all personnel on board the charter flight as soon as possible.”
Shares in Sundance remain suspended from trading while the company rearranges its corporate governance.
Perth mining identity George Jones on Tuesday resumed the role of Sundance’s chairman after joining an advisory group including lawyer Michael Blackiston and venture capital expert Adam Rankine-Wilson.
The group will in coming weeks ask Sundance shareholders for permission to act as de facto directors and begin rebuilding the board.