Tributes to couple killed in plane crash

Colleagues have paid tribute to a couple from Norfolk who were among five British tourists killed when their sightseeing plane crashed in Malawi at the weekend.

By TARA GREAVES

Colleagues paid tribute last night to a couple from Norfolk who were among five British tourists killed when their sightseeing plane crashed in Malawi at the weekend.

Six people - including the Canadian pilot - were killed when the Cessna plane came down as it travelled from the capital Lilongwe to the north of the African country.

Dawn Rollins, 44, and husband Colin Smith, 45, who are believed to have lived in Brundall, near Norwich, were yesterday named among the dead.

Ms Rollins worked as a senior manager at the Norwich office of chartered accountants Lovewell Blake, specialising in agricultural accountancy.

Last night, Douglas Young, a partner at the firm, paid tribute to the couple: "Dawn and Colin were on a cycling holiday and on an internal flight which reports suggest got into difficulties in bad weather.

Most Read

"Dawn joined Lovewell Blake in the Yarmouth office 16 years ago and moved to Norwich in 2005 to help set up the agricultural group as its senior manager. She had played a major role in the group's success to date, with her infectious enthusiasm and high levels of energy rubbing off on team mem-bers, clients and professionals.

"She will be particularly missed at the Royal Norfolk Show next week where she was responsible for the firm's stand. Her team will ensure it continues to run as smoothly as she would have wanted. Our sympathies and thoughts are with her family."

Ms Rollins was well known in the farming community in Norfolk, according to Simon Watson, another of the firm's partners.

"Staff and friends are absolutely devastated," he said. "Dawn very much loved life. She loved to go on adventurous holidays, cycling in Africa - she was very keen on the outdoors."

The couple had no children.

It is believed the tourists were part of a wider group of cyclists and squash players on holiday together.

Also named were sales director Nigel Clout, 53 - a father of two from Hemel Hempstead - research scientist Dr Daniel Turnberg, 37 - son of Labour life peer Lord Turnberg of Cheadle - and David Murrell, 45.

An investigation was launched into the incident, which is believed to have happened in bad weather.

The plane came down in a river valley between 2pm and 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon, according to the duty air traffic controller at Lilongwe International Airport.

It had set off for a 30-minute tour of the Rumphi district of northern Malawi but never arrived at its destination, prompting a search- and-rescue mission.

The tourists had been staying at a lodge on the Nyika Plateau.

The Nyika Safari Company, which offers access to the Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve in the remote north of the country, is understood to have been operating the plane.