BHP COO killed in chopper crash

Australian David Hopgood is among the five people killed in a helicopter crash in Angola.

The BHP Billiton Angola Chief Operating Officer was among the victims of a crash on Friday 16 November about 80km from the Alto Cuilo Camp, a diamonds exploration facility in north eastern Angola.

Two helicopters struck bad weather as they were transporting personnel to the Alto Cuilo Camp.

Both helicopters were forced to land.

When the weather cleared the helicopters took off again.

Shortly thereafter communication between the two helicopters was lost.

The first helicopter tried to re-establish communication with the second, and when it was not able to do so, returned to the agreed rendezvous point where they had taken off after the storm.

The second helicopter remained there overnight and at daybreak this morning, the search commenced.

The wreckage of the second helicopter was located.

None of the passengers survived the crash.

The deceased also included Kevin Ayre (British; Operations Manager — Angola Technical Services), Kottie Breedt (South African; Pilot – Wild Dog Helicopters), Guy Summerfield (British; MMC) and Louwrens Prinsloo (Namibian; Prinsloo Drilling).

BHP has suspended all operations in Angola and launched an investigation.

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