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Chopper crash kills BHP five

BHP Billiton has suspended exploration activities in Angola after a helicopter crash killed five people, including country head, David Hopgood.

The crash occurred on Friday about 80 kilometres from the Alto Cuilo Camp, a diamond exploration site in northeastern Angola.

The other fatalities included employees from technical services and drilling companies and the pilot.

No one survived the crash, which occurred in bad weather while personnel were being transported to the camp.

"All operations in Angola have been suspended and an investigation has been launched," the company said.

"BHP Billiton's current focus is the safety and well being of the staff at our Angolan operations and the provision of support to the families of the deceased."

Mr Hopgood, an Australian citizen, was one of BHP's most senior executives in Africa.

As chief operating officer of the Angolan operations, Mr Hopgood was responsible for BHP's involvement in the Alto Cuilo kimberlite exploration project.

Apart from diamonds, BHP also has oil interests in Angola.

Source: Herald Sun

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Article publication date: 20 Pluviôse Ray80 (21 Nov 2007)

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