A pilot who has been credited with saving the lives of five passengers following a horror helicopter crash on the Gold Coast that claimed four lives has yet to speak with police as authorities search for answers.
The actions of the pilot, identified by several news outlets as 52-year-old Michael James, were described as "remarkable" after he managed to land his helicopter on a sandbank on Monday afternoon despite significant damage to the aircraft.
“It was a remarkable job considering the damage that was done to the front left-hand part of the aircraft where the pilot was sitting,” Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said.
“We could have had a far worse situation here. What we do need to know now is what was occurring inside those cockpits.”
Gold Coast Heli-tours director Scott Menzies told Daily Mail Australia he believed Mr James "did a bloody fantastic job under the circumstances". His helicopter's windscreen shattered in the collision while the front section of the aircraft was badly mangled.
He said it is "nearly impossible" to land a helicopter after it is involved in a mid-air collision. "He probably would have had a lot of shrapnel wounds ... and a lot of [system] failures to deal with," Mr Menzies said.
Photos of Mr James in the moments after the crash show him bloodied. He has since undergone surgery to remove glass shrapnel embedded in his body, the Courier Mail reported. Two of his passengers remain in hospital with similar wounds.
While Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll stressed there was a "long way to go" in investigations, it "may be the case" charges could be laid following a "comprehensive" probe from police and the ATSB.
Police divers were seen on Tuesday searching waters for evidence.
Two passengers remain critical
The crash victims have been identified as British-born pilot Ashley Jenkinson, 40, Ron and Diane Hughes, 65 and 57, from Liverpool in the UK and Sydney mother Vanessa Tadros, 36.
Ms Tadros's 10-year-old son Nicholas and nine-year-old Leon De Silva, from Geelong, were in critical conditions in hospital on Wednesday night while Leon's mother, Winnie De Silva, was in a serious condition. All were in Mr Jenkinson's aircraft which crashed on its side after its rotor blade and gearbox became separated in the crash.
Ms De Silva's husband, Neil, stated on an online fundraiser, which raised more than $7000 in the space of seven hours on Tuesday, that the family had been on a quick holiday to Queensland.
"Thankfully they are both alive but have a lot of surgery ahead of them which means the family will need to stay here on the Gold Coast and I won't be able to return to work," Mr De Silva said.
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