British couple among four killed in Sea World helicopter crash

Helicopter crash Queensland
By Linsey McNeill
03/01/2023
Home » British couple among four killed in Sea World helicopter crash

A British couple from Merseyside have been named as two of the four people killed when two Sea World helicopters crashed on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Diane and Ron Hughes, aged 57 and 65, died when the choppers collided as one came in to land and the other took off.

Sea World chief pilot Ashley Jenkinson also died, along with Vanessa Tadros, 36, from Sydney.

Mr Jenkinson, who was also Head of Operations at Sea World Helicopters, is believed to have come from Birmingham. Ms Tadros is thought to have been related to the deceased couple, according to local media reports.

Three other people were critically injured in the smash, which happened close to Sea World. They are Ms Tadros’s 10-year-old son Nicholas Tadros, Geelong woman Winnie de Silva, 33, and her nine-year-old son Leon.

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the incident, which happened on Monday afternoon.

The Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of two British nationals who died in Australia and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Thousands of people visiting Sea World and the busy Gold Coast Broadwater on the public holiday would have witnessed the crash.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell told local media that is appeared that the main rotor blade of the helicopter that was taking off collided with the front cockpit of the helicopter coming in to land.

One of the helicopters crashed onto a sandbank upside down, scattering debris over a wide area, while the other managed to successfully land on the same sandbank.

Members of the public rushed to pull passengers from the wreckage as it burst into flames.

In a statement, Sea World theme park said: “Village Roadshow Theme Parks (VRTP) offers its deepest condolences to all those impacted by the helicopter tragedy. While Sea World Helicopters is an independent professional operator, VRTP is working with emergency services and the authorities to provide every possible assistance.”

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