Wirral couple die in Australia helicopter crash

The victims of a mid-air collision between two helicopters in Australia have been named as Diane Hughes, 57, and her 65-year-old husband Ron, understood to be from Neston.

Four people died following the crash involving two helicopters on the Gold Coast, Australia, yesterday afternoon, Monday January 2.

Initial investigations indicate the crash occurred around 2pm when one helicopter was landing and another was taking off.

One of the helicopters managed to successfully land on a sandbank.

The aircraft which crashed had seven occupants, including the pilot, a 40-year-old man.

The pilot and three passengers died at the scene, a pair travelling from Wirral, including a 57-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man, and a 36-year-old Glenmore Park, New South Wales Woman.

A 10-year-old boy also from Glenmore Park sustained critical injuries and was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Two people from this aircraft, including a 33-year-old woman and a 9-year-old boy both travelling from Geelong West, Victoria were transported to hospital with serious injuries.

The woman was taken by road to the Gold Coast University Hospital and the boy was flown by the RACQ LifeFlight Helicopter, which landed nearby the scene, to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

She remains in a critical but stable condition and the boy’s condition remains stable.

The aircraft which landed on the Broadwater sandbank had six occupants, including the pilot, a 52-year-old Clontarf man.

The passengers included a 27-year-old Western Australia woman and two families from New Zealand who were travelling together, a 44-year-old man and 43-year-old woman from one family and a 48-year-old man and 45-year-old woman from the other.

One occupant from this aircraft was uninjured, with the remaining five people sustaining minor physical injuries. They were transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Operation Victor Sandlewood comprising Gold Coast Criminal Investigation Branch Detectives and the Forensic Crash Unit is assisting the Australian Transport Safety Bureau with investigations.

An appeal for witnesses, especially those who have video of the crash, and who have not yet spoken to investigators remains current.  

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said,  “The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has commenced a transport safety investigation into the fatal mid-air collision involving two helicopters near Seaworld on the Gold Coast, Queensland on Monday afternoon.  

“Transport safety investigators with experience in helicopter operations, maintenance and survivability engineering are deploying from the ATSB’s Brisbane and Canberra offices and are expected to begin arriving at the accident site from Monday afternoon.     

“During the evidence-gathering phase of the investigation, ATSB investigators will examine the wreckage and map the accident site. Investigators will also recover any relevant components for further examination at the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra, gather any available recorded data for analysis, and interview witnesses and other involved parties.   

“The ATSB anticipates publishing a preliminary report detailing basic information gathered during the investigation’s evidence collection phase in approximately 6-8 weeks.   

“A final report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation, however, should any critical safety issues be identified at any stage during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.”  

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