Sea World helicopter crash: Sadness turns to anger after Gold Coast tragedy as video emerges
Passengers have cheered the heroic helicopter pilot who incredibly managed to land his crippled helicopter safely, as chilling video of Sea World’s tragic crash emerges.
But for those who lost loved ones in the tragedy that left four dead and three others seriously injured, their grief has turned to anger.
“It’s not necessary – the two helicopters take off about 400 meters apart,” said Neil de Silva, whose wife Winnie and stepson Leon are fighting for their lives in hospital.
“For me, I’m like, ‘Why on earth would they cross paths?’ It’s just not necessary.”
Neil de Silva (pictured) demands answers after the horrific helicopter crash that injured his wife
Shocking video footage shows the moment a passenger tried to warn pilot Michael James, 52, of the other helicopter on a collision course with his plane.
Pointing wildly out the window, he gives the pilot an insistent pat on the shoulder before gripping the seat in front of him tightly as he prepares for impact.
Moments later, the helicopter cabin explodes in a shower of shattered glass and metal as the other helicopter’s rotor blades slice through the cockpit.
The pilot and passengers are hit by shards of deadly debris, but amazingly, Mr James manages to maintain control of the badly damaged plane and land nearby.
One of the passengers can be seen pointing out the window before the collision.
Then he pats the pilot on the shoulder to draw his attention to the impending danger
The passenger then holds onto the pilot’s seat tightly to prepare for impact
Moments later, the helicopter cabin explodes in a shower of shattered glass and metal as the other helicopter’s rotor blades slice through the cockpit
Now his grateful passengers say they owe him their lives for his cool head and quick response in the face of unimaginable terror in a cockpit destroyed on impact.
Two couples from Auckland, New Zealand, were on board the pleasure jet with another tourist from Western Australia when the accident happened at Sea World on Queensland’s Gold Coast around 2pm Monday.
The two couples traveling together – Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg and Marle and Edward Swart – paid tribute to the pilot in a joint statement on Thursday.
“To our pilot who, despite all the chaos, landed the helicopter safely and got us and other bystanders to safety. you are our hero Thank you so much,” they said.
Two New Zealand couples who traveled aboard the plane together – Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg and Marle and Edward Swart – have been celebrating the hero pilot
“Our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences go to the injured and deceased and their families.
“We are grateful and blessed to have been spared, but deeply saddened for the people who have lost loved ones and for the little ones and mother who are struggling for their lives in hospital.
“Our hearts are so heavy for her.”
Four people in the second helicopter died in the crash when the rotor assembly and gearbox were ripped from their plane and it fell headfirst into the sandbar below.
British couple Ron, 65, and Diane Hughes, 57, died when a Sea World EC130 helicopter collided with another helicopter in mid-air at 2pm Monday and plummeted 30 meters near Sea World theme park
Sea World helicopter chief pilot Ash “Jenko” Jenkinson, 40, died in the helicopter crash (pictured with his wife Kosha).
Sydney’s mother Vanessa Tadros, 36, was killed while her son Nicholas, 10, survived Monday’s helicopter crash
Vanessa Tadros, 36, died alongside British newlywed Ron Hughes, 65, and wife Diane, 57, and chief pilot Ash Jenkinson, 40.
Vanessa’s son Nicholas Tadros, 10, and Leon de Silva, 9, are both clinging to life in hospital.
Leon is in an induced coma at Gold Coast Hospital with a fractured skull while Nicholas is in critical condition on life support at Queensland Children’s Hospital.
Nicholas’ mother Leon’s mother Winnie, 33, was also flown to hospital with multiple broken bones.
Sea World helicopter crash survivors. Geelong residents, Winnie de Silva (mother) and Leon de Silva (son)
Winnie de Silva (left) has two broken legs, a broken right shoulder, broken collarbone and damaged left knee after the Sea World helicopter crash. Leon (right) has a fractured skull and is in an induced coma
Ms de Silva, who was in the lower helicopter, said from her hospital bed on Wednesday that she heard a “loud bang” and was “trembling” as the two helicopters collided.
“I could see the pilot pushing all those buttons in stress – he didn’t know what to do. I don’t remember much [after that] but everyone was shaking and worried,” Ms de Silva told the Herald Sun.
Terrified as the Eurocopter EC130 dived toward the ground, she squeezed her son’s hand as hard as she could.
“The only thing I could see was death in my eyes. I didn’t want to see death in my eyes, so I closed them and held my son’s hand next to me,” she said.
She remembers opening her eyes while trapped in the rubble.
“My feet and right arm were trapped. I remember screaming and screaming for help… I couldn’t get out,” Ms de Silva said.
The helicopter taking off is understood to have clipped another helicopter above it and then crashed into the sand with the dive
Mr de Silva relived the moments before the crash and his horror as he watched it unfold.
“It was almost like it wasn’t real,” he told Nine’s A Current Affair. “One part of your brain says it’s real, the other part… just gets it.
“I thought everyone was going to die in the helicopter and I’m kinda fighting to be positive.
“So we’re incredibly grateful and just that they’re both alive. It’s just amazing.’
One of the first on the scene has revealed how he was trying to help mortally injured British newlywed Ron Hughes before hearing Ms de Silva’s screams.
Ron Drevlak and his wife were walking their dog on the Gold Coast when the horror happened right overhead on Monday.
Ron Drevlak has described rushing to the aid of those in the helicopter.
“The sound and the impact with the ground, I can’t get it out of my head,” Mr Drevlak told 7 News.
“The first person I saw was Ron, we cut the seat belt, we pulled him out and pulled him away but he was very pale.
“Then I heard Winnie, she just screamed.
“I said, ‘Look, don’t worry, help is on the way, it’s just water, we’re just trying to dilute the fuel’.”
The New Zealand survivors on the other planes also paid tribute to those who arrived at the scene to help.
Ms Steenberg revealed she was still being treated for her injuries after fragments of the cockpit left passengers shrapnel wounds
“Our thanks go to every spectator who ran to the rescue, every police officer and emergency services personnel who helped us with our immediate needs, kept us calm and made us comfortable.
“We saw camaraderie in action. Australians come together to help in times of need.
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the hospital staff who looked after us during this traumatic experience.”
Ms Steenberg revealed she was still being treated for her injuries after fragments of the cockpit left passengers shrapnel wounds.
“I’m still in the Gold Coast hospital recovering from my injuries,” she posted on Facebook.
“I can only thank God for sparing us all.”
The Steenburg’s son, Enrico, also thanked the pilot for his flying skills and skill in bringing his helicopter down without fatalities.
“Thanks to the pilot who saved my parents from the crash and all prayers for the family who lost loved ones,” he wrote on Instagram.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11597957/Sea-World-Helicopter-crash-Grief-turns-anger-Gold-Coast-tragedy-video-emerges.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Sea World helicopter crash: Sadness turns to anger after Gold Coast tragedy as video emerges