Helicopter crash survivors in which three Brits dies describe 'nightmare'

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Helicopter crash survivors in which three Brits dies describe
Helicopter crash survivors in which three Brits dies describe 'nightmare'

Two couples who survived the horrific Sea World helicopter crash that took the lives of four people have spoken out about the ordeal.

Elmarie and Riaan Steenberg and Edward and Marle Swart, all from Auckland in New Zealand, were onboard a helicopter that collided with another.

Four people - including three Brits - died, and another three were left critically injured in the crash near Sea World on the Gold Coast in Australia, on January 2.

The couples released a joint statement in which they said they were "completely devastated", as their "fun five-minute joy ride on vacation to Australia turned into a nightmare".

They said: "We are grateful and blessed to have been spared but very sad for the people who lost loved ones and the little ones and mum fighting for their lives in hospital. Our hearts are so heavy for them.

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"Our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the injured and the deceased and their families."

Helicopter crash survivors in which three Brits dies describe 'nightmare'Three Brits were among four people killed (ABC/AFP via Getty Images)

The crash occurred as one chopper was taking off and the other coming into land. The helicopter containing Elmarie, Riaan, Edward and Marle, which was descending, managed to land successfully on a sandbank.

On Facebook, Elmarire said she was still in hospital after the crash.

She said on Wednesday: "I am still in hospital in the Gold Coast, recovering from my injuries. All I can say thank you to God for sparing all of us."

Helicopter crash survivors in which three Brits dies describe 'nightmare'Edward and Marle Swart (Facebook)

The actions of the pilot containing the four earned praise from the authorities, as well as thanks from survivors.

Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the landing by 52-year-old Sydney pilot Michael James was a "remarkable achievement."

He said: "The second helicopter coming in to land has remarkably managed to land upright, and considering the damage that was done to the front left-hand section of that helicopter where the pilot was sitting, that’s a remarkable achievement.

Helicopter crash survivors in which three Brits dies describe 'nightmare'Elmarie Steenberg and her husband Riaan (Facebook)

"Whilst it has been very tragic that four people have lost their lives and many families are in mourning, we could have had a far worse situation here and the fact that one helicopter managed to land has been quite remarkable."

The four from New Zealand added: "To our pilot, who, through all the chaos, landed the helicopter safely, keeping us and other bystanders safe. You are our hero. Thank you so very much."

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Among the Brits killed were newlyweds Ron and Diane Hughes, 65 and 57, from Liverpool. Pilot Ash Jenkinson also died.

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An Australian woman named as Venessa Tadros, 36, also died. Her grieving husband Simon appealed for prayers for their gravely injured 10-year-old son.

He said on Facebook: "I do ask that if everyone can please say a prayer for Nicky, so he can wake up and make a good recovery.

Helicopter crash survivors in which three Brits dies describe 'nightmare'Brit pilot Ash leaves behind a wife and son (Facebook)

"He is in an induced coma on a life support machine to help him breath[e]. He is in a very serious and critical state. I’m asking for all your prayers to bring my little man back to me."

The Steenbergs and Stewarts added: "We will share more when we are ready; however as we are coming to grips with what has happened and the resultant impact on our lives we ask that our need for privacy be respected at this time."

Benjamin Lynch

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation