HomeOutdoorsNewsShocking New Photos Emerge of Sea World Helicopter Crash Survivors Moments After Mid-Air Collision

Shocking New Photos Emerge of Sea World Helicopter Crash Survivors Moments After Mid-Air Collision

by Caitlin Berard
Helicopter Exploding Ahead of Crash
(Photo by giocalde via Getty Images)

On Monday, January 2, two helicopters were on their normal route over an Australian theme park when the unthinkable occurred. While one helicopter was taking off and the other was landing, they crashed in mid-air, killing the pilot and three Sea World visitors.

The remaining eight people on the aircraft escaped with their lives. However, first responders rushed three to the hospital in critical condition. Those who died were traveling in the same helicopter, and most in the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries.

Photos of the helicopter crash have now emerged, showing the surviving passengers mere moments after the horrific incident, the Sea World visitors covered in blood. The DailyMail shared the images of the helicopter crash survivors. Be warned, however, that they are graphic.

The four deceased passengers include Vanessa Tadros, Ron Hughes and his wife Diane, and chief pilot Ash Jenkinson. Sadly, two of those rushed to the hospital were small children – 10-year-old Nicholas Tadros and 9-year-old Leon de Silva. Hospital staff immediately placed both boys on life support, in addition to Leon’s mother Winnie.

Those who survived did so largely thanks to the efforts of pilot Michael James. Against all odds, he successfully landed the failing aircraft on a sandbank near the park.

Sea World Helicopter Crash Victims Respond to Release of Collision Footage

The families of Elmarie Steenberg and Marle Swart, Auckland residents who were inside one of the helicopters when it crashed over Sea World, were the ones to release the harrowing photos.

In a statement, however, the families added that did release footage from inside the helicopter. They did so, however, to investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. As such, they didn’t expect it to hit news broadcasts, especially not so soon after the incident.

“We do not know how [Channel 7] obtained it, but it was only provided to investigators as part of their inquiries at the crash scene and after,” they said. “This was intentionally kept out of the public domain out of respect for all the individuals affected by this tragic accident and is extremely traumatizing.”

Despite their horror at the broadcasting of their ordeal, the Steenberg and Swart families remained grateful. They offered their heartfelt condolences to the passengers who didn’t escape the crash. “Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss,” they said. “This has been traumatic for us as survivors.”

“We cannot imagine the terrible sadness their families and loved ones must be feeling. We continue to pray for Nicholas, Leon, and Winnie, as they are still in hospital with severe injuries, and are mourning the loss of Ash Jenkinson.”

The families then expressed thanks for the heroic efforts of their pilot, Michael James, as well as the brave bystanders who rushed to the crash site to help. Among them was an off-duty paramedic, who played a large part in saving the surviving victims.