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International Experts Join Investigation Into Sea World Helicopter Crash

It has been a year since the tragic mid-air collision over the Gold Coast’s Broadwater estuary that claimed the lives of four people in a helicopter crash near Sea World. 

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is conducting a thorough examination, with a German company recreating the helicopter’s sight lines to provide insights into the moments leading up to the fatal crash.

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On January 2, one year ago, the Broadwater estuary witnessed a horrifying mid-air collision between two helicopters.

Sea World Helicopters chief pilot Ashley Jenkinson, Vanessa Tadros, and the UK couple Diane and Ron Hughes lost their lives in the incident. 

The collision unfolded in front of families and holiday-makers at the popular theme park, leaving three passengers, including two children, critically injured.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the events leading to the crash, the ATSB has enlisted a German company to recreate the sight lines from within the cockpits of the two helicopters. 

ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said: “(it’s) based on the physical construct of both those cabins and the three axis that they operate on in the airspace so we can see exactly what was likely to be seen by both the pilots.”

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The investigation has also delved into the workload and pressures on the chief pilot in the days leading up to the crash. 

“We know that this chief pilot was not only chief of operations but also head of operations, chief of air worthiness, maintenance control, as well as a line pilot and also other admin responsibilities, so we know that that is a busy workload,” he said.

As a mark of respect to the victims of the accident, Sea World Helicopters has decided not to conduct joy flights on the anniversary. 

Managing Director John Orr-Campbell expressed condolences, remembering the lives lost and acknowledging the impact on the families and friends affected by the tragedy.

The investigation into the Sea World helicopter crash continues, with international expertise contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances leading to the tragic incident. 

As the ATSB works towards delivering its final report in mid-2024, the hope is that the findings will not only provide answers but also contribute to enhancing safety measures within the aviation industry.

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