Fatal helicopter crash victims identified as Aussie mum and UK newlyweds

The Sydney woman was on board with her young son while the visiting British couple had only recently married.

The three passengers who died after two helicopters collided on the Gold Coast have been identified by media as Sydney mother Vanessa Tadros and British couple Ron and Diane Hughes.

It comes after pilot and father Ash Jenkinson, 40, was named as the first victim of the horrific crash that occurred at around 2pm on Monday afternoon in front of shocked onlookers near Sea World.

Ms Tadros, 36, also known as Vanessa Geage, according to the Courier Mail, was reportedly on holiday in Queensland with her family and boarded the Sea World helicopter with her 10-year-old son while her husband stayed behind. The child survived the crash but was taken to the hospital in a critical condition. He has already undergone four surgeries, the family told reporters.

Sydney mother Vanessa Tadros and British couple Ron and Diane Hughes.
Sydney mum Vanessa Tadros, 36, (right) and British couple Ron, 65, and Diane Hughes, 57, (left) died when a Sea World helicopter collided with another on the Gold Coast. Source: Facebook/Daily Telegraph

The 10-year-old is allegedly unaware his mother didn't survive. Other members of the family travelled from Sydney to the Gold Coast to be by his side.

Ron Hughes, 65, had married his wife Diane, 57, in 2021. The couple were visiting Australia from their hometown of Liverpool in England. It's believed another woman, 33, and her nine-year-old son are fighting for their lives in hospital.

The other helicopter miraculously managed to land safely after the collision. It reportedly had five passengers on board. The windscreen was damaged and a number of people were injured by glass debris.

The two helicopters sit on a sandbank in the wake of Gold Coast crash.
The two helicopters sit on a sandbank in the wake of the Gold Coast crash. Source: AAP

Tributes flow as video of crash emerges

Devastating tributes have flowed on social media following the tragedy with experienced pilot Mr Jenkinson being remembered as an "amazing human" by friends. Mr Jenkinson's friend, Andrew Taylor, told the ABC his mate was "just someone you wanted to be around". He leaves behind a partner and their baby son.

Video has also emerged of the moments before the fatal collision, showing one of the helicopters taking off seconds before colliding with another that is understood to have been trying to land. A child can be heard saying 'is it going to crash' as the two helicopters head towards each other.

Helicopter pilot Ashley Jenkinson.
Pilot Ashley Jenkinson (left) was killed in Monday's devastating crash. Source: Facebook

Investigation currently underway

An investigation into the fatal mid-air collision has begun, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said. It's believed those who died had only been in the air for 20 seconds, after the helicopter had just taken off. Debris from the helicopters has been salvaged after landing on a sandbar at the water's edge.

"We're still determining the exact sequence of events but from the footage that we've seen, and from the damage that we can witness on there, it does appear the main rotor blade of the helicopter taking off has collided with the front cockpit of the descending helicopter on the left-hand side," he said, the ABC reported.

"That in itself has led to the main rotor in the gearbox separating from that helicopter, which has meant that tragically it has then had no lift and has fallen heavily to the ground."

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