Gold Coast helicopter crash survivors share new photos of aftermath, recovery

Four survivors of the deadly Gold Coast helicopter crash have shared photographs of themselves covered in blood in the aftermath of the tragedy, as well as their recovery in hospital.

Two New Zealand couples, Edward and Marle Swart, and Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg, were onboard a Sea World chopper when it was hit mid-air by another helicopter.

New pictures of the fatal Gold Coast helicopter crash have been released by the New Zealand survivors.

The crash last Monday occurred when a helicopter taking off from the Sea World theme park collided 20 seconds after taking off with another that was landing. Pilot Ashley Jenkinson, British newlyweds Ron and Diane Hughes and Sydney mum Vanessa Tadros were killed.

Tadros’ 10-year-old son Nicholas, Victorian Winnie De Silva and her son Leon, 9, were critically injured and remain in hospital.

The pictures show a bloodied and shocked Elmarie and Marle in the helicopter after the crash as well victims receiving treatment at the scene. Helicopter pilot Michael James was able to land on a sandbank after the collision.

The four survivors released a collective statement on Sunday saying they felt “eternally grateful to have been spared”.

They said they wanted to express their “deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the injured, deceased, and their families” and continued to pray for those survivors still in hospital.

“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss. This has been traumatic for us as survivors, and we cannot imagine the terrible sadness their families and loved ones must be feeling,” they said.

The four survivors said the support and care they had received from strangers had touched them “deeply” and that they would continue to assist authorities with their investigations.

“We will share more when we are ready; however, as we are coming to grips with what has happened and the resultant impact on our lives, we ask that our need for privacy be respected at this time,” they said.

They thanked their “hero” Michael James, bystanders who rushed to help including a jet skier who helped them out of the chopper and an off-duty paramedic and Robina Hospital staff.

“Their care and heroism changed our lives,” they said.

The New Zealanders said they were exploring legal action after Channel 7 aired vision from inside the cockpit showing the crash, claiming it was an “exclusive”. They said the footage was only given to Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators.

“We do not know how they [Seven] 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 traumatising.”

The same footage was also used by other media outlets, including this masthead, after it was aired on Channel 7.

Air safety investigators are looking into the causes of the crash.

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