Helicopter crash at Sea World: Pilot Ashley Jenkinson says goodbye at funeral on Gold Coast

Pilot Ashely Jenkinson has been heartbroken by loved ones – 11 days after he was killed in the Gold Coast Sea World helicopter tragedy.

Hundreds of mourners poured into the Southport Church of Christ at 2pm on Friday to say goodbye to the 40-year-old father-of-one who died along with three passengers when their helicopter collided with another in mid-air.

Mr. Jenkinson’s fiancee, Kosha, and their one-year-old son, Kayden, sat outside the church next to his white coffin, which was adorned with white flowers.

The service began with Pastor Dean telling the crowd they had gathered today to remember Mr Jenkinson’s “contagious smile, kind heart and good humor” before Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” was played.

The service heard Ash was a devoted father and “true hero” who offered his flying services to help people in need of supplies during natural disasters, with a “big heart” and “contagious energy.”

Sea World helicopter chief pilot Ash

Sea World helicopter chief pilot Ash “Jenko” Jenkinson, 40, died in the helicopter crash (pictured with his fiancee Kosha).

“Ash, you may be gone, but you will always be remembered. Your memory lives on in the memories who have had the privilege of knowing you,” Pastor Dean said.

“Rest in peace Ash, your wings were ready but our hearts weren’t.”

Mr Jenkinson’s older and younger brothers Miles and Blaze fought back tears as they remembered him as a little boy who wouldn’t sit still as he was always ‘tinkering’ with objects.

They said his “mechanical mind” saved them when their RV broke down during a road trip adventure when they were younger.

Miles said his brother saw a helicopter while working in a bar in England and it was “love or obsession at first sight” that sparked his passion to pursue a career as a pilot.

“To say that fatherhood has accomplished Ash is an understatement,” Miles said, “Kayden’s eyes would light up every time he saw his father.”

“Not many kids can say they’ve been in a helicopter. It’s a memory we will always share with Kayden to remind him that he was a superhero.”

Miles said they were inspired to live their lives to the fullest every day like their “strong, fearless” brother.

Hundreds of mourners poured into the Southport Church of Christ at 2pm on Friday to say goodbye to the father of one child

Hundreds of mourners poured into the Southport Church of Christ at 2pm on Friday to say goodbye to the father of one child

One-year-old Kayden looks up to Pastor Dean

One-year-old Kayden looks up to Pastor Dean

“We didn’t have enough time with you, but we will always remember the 40 years of memories,” Miles said.

“You were the best brother we could have ever asked for.

“You will always be our hero.”

Kayden ran around the stage, clapping and mingling with the guests while the service was in procession.

The veteran pilot had just departed for the pleasure ride at around 2pm on January 2 when his plane smashed into a second as it came ashore over the Gold Coast Broadwater.

Mr Jenkinson was killed along with British newlyweds Ron and Diane Hughes, 65 and 57, and Sydney’s mother Vanessa Tadros, 36, when the helicopter crashed to the ground.

The three survivors of that helicopter – Winnie de Silva, 33, her son Leon, 9, and Ms Tadros’ son Nicholas, 10 – were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Ms de Silva and her son, who suffered a fractured skull, have both since stabilized while Nicholas was on life support in critical condition.

The second pilot, Michael James, managed to land his plane safely and saved the lives of his five passengers – including two New Zealand couples and a Western Australian man.

Four of the survivors were hospitalized after being injured by shattered glass when the lower helicopter’s rotor blades sliced ​​through the cockpit.

The Air Transport Safety Bureau has launched its investigation into the crash, promising to investigate all possible causes of the accident.

Mr Jenkinson grew up in the West Midlands of England before moving to Australia where he had a successful flying career for almost 16 years

Tributes poured in online following Mr Jenkinson’s death as devastated friends remembered the Birmingham-born pilot as a “top gun” with a “kind heart” who delivered much-needed supplies to flood-ravaged parts of NSW in 2022 .

Last week, John Orr-Campbell, owner of Sea World Helicopters, issued a tribute in which he commemorated Mr Jenkinson as a “first class pilot and first class man”.


The helicopter taking off is understood to have clipped another helicopter above it and then crashed into the sand with the dive

Mr. Jenkinson was an experienced helicopter pilot who had been flying for almost 16 years

Mr. Jenkinson was an experienced helicopter pilot who had been flying for almost 16 years

“I knew Ash personally for nine years. He was a fine man and an outstanding pilot with 6,210 flight hours to his name,” Orr-Campbell wrote online.

“Losing a man and pilot of Ash’s caliber is shocking in every sense of the word. I’m gutted to the core along with everyone at Sea World Helicopters. My heart aches when I think of Ash’s fiancee, Kosha, and his one-year-old son, Kayden.

“I also want to commend the other pilot, Michael James, who heroically got the second plane on the ground safely. We wish him all the best in his recovery.’

Mr Orr-Campbell announced that Mr Jenkinson obtained his commercial pilot license in June 2008 and was flying helicopters in Western Australia until 2011.

“During this time, Ash showed his love and commitment to the community – he was involved in several search and rescue flights in the area,” he said.

“That sense of community has resulted in him spending over 700 hours and many days away from family and friends to help with firefighting operations across Australia.”

In 2019, Mr. Jenkinson became Chief Pilot of Sea World Helicopters, overseeing all aspects of safety and flight operations.

“We have lost a first class pilot, a first class husband and a wonderful father, partner and friend,” wrote Orr-Campbell.

“RIP Ash, you will always be in our hearts.”


Sea World Helicopters is an independent offshoot of the theme park near the world famous Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast and has been in operation for more than 40 years.

In November 2019 it opened Australia’s largest privately owned helicopter terminal overlooking Broadwater at a cost of several million dollars.

It boasted an “impeccable” safety record, which it attributed to its “skilled pilots and meticulous maintenance regimen.”

Before Covid hit the tourism industry, the terminal flew up to 600 passengers a day and offered five-minute scenic flights or 30-minute trips to waterfalls and inland coastal beaches.

In the wake of the pandemic, the company diversified into trips to local wineries

Chief Pilot Ash Jenkinson, 40, who died in the tragedy, said the flights were a once-in-a-lifetime experience for holidaymakers.

“Flying around day trips to multiple wineries, who wouldn’t want to do that?” he said in 2021.

“The Gold Coast is so well-known for its golden sands and beach lifestyle that you forget you’ve got all these beautiful inland rainforests and massive flyable waterfalls just a five-minute flight inland.

“It’s something our guests will remember for a lifetime and one of my favorite places in Australia.”

He added: “If you haven’t seen the Gold Coast from the air, you’re missing out.

“The simple flight up and down the coast, past the tall buildings and above the sea is something you can’t comprehend from the ground.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11630379/Sea-World-helicopter-crash-pilot-Ashley-Jenkinson-farewelled-funeral-Gold-Coast.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Helicopter crash at Sea World: Pilot Ashley Jenkinson says goodbye at funeral on Gold Coast

Emma Colton

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