CHILLING onboard footage shows the moment tourists tried to warn the pilots moments before a horror crash.

Four people died – including a Brit couple – when the two helicopters smashed into each other near Sea World in Australia.




Shocking footage of inside one of the doomed helicopters shows moments before the crash.

One of the passengers appears to try to alert the pilot by tapping him on the shoulder.

And then moments later the rotor blades of the other aircraft rip into the cockpit with a loud crash, in footage published by 7News.

The helicopter strikes another chopper which was taking off while it comes into land.

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The taking off chopper had its rotor and gearbox ripped off, sending it crashing into a sand bank.

And then the landing chopper, with a shattered windscreen and damaged nose, miraculously managed to land.

Sunbathers, boaters and jet ski riders then raced to help the victims, police said.

Authorities are now investigating to see what went wrong and to establish exactly what was happening in both cabins.

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Brit couple Ron Hughes, 65, and his wife Diane, 57, were both killed as they were in the taking off helicopter.

Ash Jenkinson, 40, the chief pilot for Sea World Helicopters, was also killed in the crash.

And so was Australian mum Vanessa Tadros, 36.

Three others, including two children, are fighting for their lives after the crash.

Onboard the landing helicopter was Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg and Marle and Edward Swart, all from New Zealand.

It was being piloted by Michael James and there was a fourth unnamed passenger.

Five of the six on board were cut by shards from the smashed windscreen, but the pilot managed to land alongside the wreck of the other chopper.

The Steenbergs’ son, Enrico, took to Instagram to thank the pilot for a safe landing.

“Thx (sic) to the pilot for saving my parents from the crash and all prayers to the family who lost their loved ones,” he wrote.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) boss Angus Mitchell said the helicopter that was taking off was in the air for less than 20 seconds before the crash.

“After the collision, it was a matter of seconds before it has hit the ground,” he told reporters.

“So it has unfolded very quickly.”

Mitchell said the main rotor blade of the helicopter that was taking off struck the front of the landing chopper.

But he clarified they are still trying to determine what was the "first point of impact".

He hailed Mr James "remarkable achievement" for managing to land his chopper.

“We could’ve had a far worse situation here,” he said.

ATSB investigators are now trying to piece together exactly how the horror crash happened.

Mitchell said the take-off and landing phases of any aircraft are where the pilots are under the most cognitive workload.

“What we need to know now is what was occurring in those two cockpits at the time," the chief said.



Ron and Diane, from Liverpool, are understood to have been visiting Ron’s daughter Jane Manns, her husband Ben and their children.

They had decided to take a Sea World Helicopter flight over the Gold Coast on Monday afternoon when tragedy struck.

Jane and Ben said the family has been left "heartbroken" by their deaths.

“Our family is heartbroken and we are still trying to contact friends and family to let them know," they told 7News.

"Please respect our privacy at this devastating time."

Relatives of Ron and Diane – who tied the knot in August 2021 – are expected to touch down in Australia is the next few days.

Diane's brother Dave Boyce said: "We would also like to thank you all for the love and support we have received.

"We are truly humbled at this heartbreaking time."

The pilot of Ron and Diane's chopper, chief pilot Ash, reportedly grew up in Birmingham.

Heartbroken cousins in the West Midlands shared poignant posts after news of his death.

Ian Jenkinson wrote: "I am absolutely devastated at the sudden and tragic loss of my cousin, in such an awful accident.

"Although we were half a world apart we regularly messaged each other. I send my love and condolences to you all down-under. RIP, love ya Cuz."

Angela Jenkinson posted photos of them together on a visit to Oz and said: "Absolutely devastated of the news of our Aussie cousin.

"Our absolute love and sadness is with our Aussie family and friends."

Another UK relative, Charlie Jenkinson, said: "Fly High Cousin you will be deeply missed throughout. Your presence spanned from Aus to the UK."

Ash, known to hundreds on the Gold Coast as "Jenko", leaves behind a wife and a baby son.

Pal Ritchie Gregg paid tribute to the dad and remembered how the pilot helped the victims of the devastating floods in New South Wales and Queensland.

He said: "This will always be the highlight of my life and just one of your legacies when we helped flood people. Cheers."

Colleague Penny Wilson remembered Jenkinson for his "golden heart" and "cheeky sense of humour".

Horrifying footage showed the moments before the crash as tourists waiting for a flight saw the doomed chopper take off.

One child is heard saying: "Is he going to crash?" as the two black Sea World aircraft head towards a collision.

Eyewitness Amii McDermott, who saw the horror unfold, said there was "debris everywhere, the tail fell off one of them and the helicopter nosedived into the ground at full-speed".

At least 13 people required treatment following the tragedy on Monday afternoon at around 2pm.

Sea World Helicopters expressed its sympathy for those involved in the crash – and said it is cooperating with the authorities to find out what happened.

The company did not confirm if it operated one or both helicopters involved in the crash.

"We and the entire flying community are devastated by what has happened and our sincere condolences go to all those involved and especially the loved ones and family of the deceased," a spokesperson said.

"We are cooperating with all the authorities including the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the Queensland Police.

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"As it is now a police investigation we cannot provide any further information at this stage."

Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the country had been left shocked by the "terrible and tragic incident".



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