Woman, 24, fights for life after helicopter tragedy kills two people

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·2-min read

A woman critically injured in a helicopter crash that killed a well-known pilot and a 12-year-old girl in Western Australia's north has been identified as a 24-year-old teacher’s assistant.

Primary school teacher’s aide Maddison Down was one of four people in the helicopter when it crashed about 2.30pm on Saturday in the Broome suburb of Bilingurr, in the state's Kimberley region, according to The West Australian.

The pilot, local businessman Troy Thomas who founded Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, was survived by his daughter, Mia, who was in the helicopter when it went down.

Her friend, who is yet to be identified, was killed in the crash, while Mia remains in a serious but stable condition in Perth Children’s Hospital, and Ms Down is bring treated in the ICU at Royal Perth Hospital.

West Australian teacher's aide Maddison Down was critically injured when a helicopter went down in Broome.
Maddison Down was critically injured when a helicopter went down in Broome on Saturday. Source: Facebook

Mr Thomas, 40, is believed to have sold the company last year, but remained involved in its operations.

Ms Down works at Falcon Primary School in the Mandurah suburb of Falcon, south of Perth, where both 12-year-old girls attended school, The West Australian reported.

Western Australia’s Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said Mr Thomas had been a valued member of the tourism industry and a passionate advocate for the Kimberley region.

"Through his award-winning business, he shared this very special part of Western Australia with thousands of people from around the world each year," Mr Papalia said in a statement.

"On behalf of the state government, I would like to extend my condolences to the bereaved families. Our thoughts are also with those who have been hospitalised."

Maddison Down was one of the four people on the flight that killed two people, including Troy Thomas and a 12-year-old girl.
Ms Down is reportedly a teacher's aide at the school attended by the two 12-year-olds on the flight. Source: Facebook

Former West Coast Eagles AFL player and media commentator Karl Langdon paid tribute to his long-time friend on social media.

"I'm glad I shared breakfast with you yesterday, I'm glad I got to stay with you the last couple of days and we got to chat, reflect and enjoy each other's company. I will remember the time we spent together forever," he wrote.

"Love you mate, Rest In Peace."

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the crash of the Robinson R44 helicopter.

WA Police Detective Inspector Gene Pears said there were many witnesses to the crash.

"This will be really tragic for people here in a small community... many people will be struggling," he told reporters on Sunday.

with AAP

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