Australia helicopter crash survivors pay tribute to ‘hero’ pilot who landed stricken aircraft | World News

Survivors of a mid-air collision involving two helicopters have praised their “hero” pilot for safely landing their damaged plane, as dramatic new images show they were saved from the crash.

In the photos, two New Zealand couples, Mary and Edward Swart and Elmary and Ryan Steinberg, are being ejected from a ground plane. After the accident on Australia’s Gold Coast on January 2.

Four people, including a British couple and the pilot, died in the crash. When the two helicopters collided in the air.

The four people who died were together in a helicopter, carrying seven people, which crashed on a beach.

Photographs of survivors from inside the cockpit of a helicopter that was involved in a fatal crash with another helicopter on Australia's Gold Coast.  Photo: Edward Swart, Marl Swart, Ryan Steinberg and Elmer Steinberg
Image:
Photo: Edward Swart, Marl Swart, Ryan Steinberg and Elmer Steinberg

The second helicopter, carrying six people, including Swarts and Steinberg, was landed upright by pilot Michael James despite sustaining significant collision damage.

Five people in the second helicopter suffered minor injuries while the sixth was unharmed.

In a joint statement, Swarts and Steenbergs paid tribute to their pilot.

He said: “Our pilot, Michael James, you are our hero, you landed the helicopter safely and kept our colleagues and us safe.

“We are eternally grateful to you.”

The four survivors also thanked emergency services personnel, passers-by who rushed to help and the staff of a local hotel who came to their aid after the accident.

The aftermath of the helicopter crash on the Gold Coast
Image:
The aftermath of the helicopter crash on the Gold Coast

Paying tribute to those killed in the encounter, he said: “We wish to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the injured, the deceased and their families.

“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss.

“It has been painful for us as survivors, and we can’t imagine the terrible pain their families and loved ones are going through.”

Read more:
British couple killed in helicopter crash named
A father is fighting for his life as a 10-year-old son.

A British couple is among the four people killed in an accident near Sea World in Queensland.

Holidaymakers Diane and Ron Hughes, 57 and 65, were from Liverpool and married in 2021.

Diane and Ron Hughes
Image:
Diane and Ron Hughes

Mr and Mrs Hughes were on board the helicopter which was carrying seven people.

Pilot Ashley Jenkinson, 40, who lived in the Gold Coast area but was originally from Birmingham, and a 36-year-old woman also died.

A 10-year-old boy is in critical condition, while a 33-year-old woman and a nine-year-old boy are seriously injured.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said the incident was a tragic start to the new year.

Pilot Ashley Jenkinson Photo: Richie Gregg
Image:
Pilot Ashley Jenkinson Photo: Richie Gregg

He explained that the main rotor of the take-off helicopter collided with the landing helicopter about 200 meters in the air, causing considerable damage to the front section.

During this process, the rotor blades and gearbox separated from the main body of the aircraft.

Mr Mitchell told reporters: “We are very fortunate that we are not standing here with more deaths.”

SeaWorld Helicopters, a separate company from the theme park, expressed its condolences, saying it was a “devastation” and was cooperating with the investigation.



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