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Australian mining execs on plane missing in Africa

Last Updated: Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 16:10

Sydney: Fears grew for the safety of a group of Australian mining executives on Sunday after their plane disappeared en route from Cameroon to Congo-Brazzaville, the Australian government and the firm said.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said 10 people were on board the chartered flight, including six Australians, which was due to travel on a flight path over dense jungle.

"We are seriously concerned about their safety and well-being," Smith said.

Iron ore miner Sundance Resources said the flight from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Yangadou in Congo-Brazzaville failed to arrive on Saturday and had been reported missing.

"The flight was carrying nine passengers, predominately from Sundance Resources, who were visiting the company`s iron ore project in Cameroon and Congo," Sundance said in a statement.

"A comprehensive air and ground search coordinated by the Cameroon military will commence at first daylight local time on Sunday. A Congolese aircraft will also be involved in the search for the missing aircraft," it added.

The group was understood to be in Africa to speak to officials in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo-Brazzaville about the Mbalam iron ore project.

Media reports said Queensland mining magnate Ken Talbot, who founded Macarthur Coal before stepping aside after being accused of making corrupt payments to a then state minister, was onboard.

Sundance chairman Geoff Wedlock was also on the plane, news agency AAP said.

"The families of the missing have been notified and are being supported during this deeply distressing time," the company said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 16:10
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