Helicopter crash survivor recalls attempt to warn pilot

Tributes pour in for survivors of Sea World crash

An international tourist who survived a midair collision between two helicopters on the Gold Coast has described the moment he realised something was wrong.

Edward and Marle Swart were visiting the Queensland holiday spot from New Zealand with friends Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg, but had not planned on taking the scenic flight.

“It was one of the last things we would have done … but I mean it was a good price, five minutes, what could go wrong?” Mr Swart told 60 Minutes on Sunday.

Footage taken from inside the helicopter shows Mr Swart trying to get the pilot’s attention before it collides with a second aircraft taking off from the Sea World theme park.

“I noticed the helicopter on the landing pad and it was sitting there and the rotors were going and you don’t think much of it,” Mr Swart said.

“As we turned left to go back and come down to land, that’s when I saw it took off, and that’s when I tried to reach the pilot to grab his attention to tell him ‘listen, there’s another helicopter coming our way’, but it was just too quick.”

“It was just chaos.”

British couple Ron and Diane Hughes, pilot Ashley Jenkinson and Australian woman Vanessa Tadros were killed in the January 2 collision.

Ms Tadros’s 10-year-old son Nicholas was critically injured and remains in hospital.

Victorian mother Winnie de Silva, 33, and her nine-year-old son Leon are also recovering from injuries sustained in the crash.

The pilot of the second chopper, Michael James, managed to land his aircraft , but he and his four passengers were injured by flying glass when its windshield shattered.

Air Transport Safety Bureau investigators are not expected to complete their probe into the accident until September 2024.


Topics: Queensland
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