Australian boy, 10, remains in coma after helicopter crash
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A 10-year-old Australian boy remained in a coma Friday following a collision earlier this week between two helicopters that killed four people, including the boy’s mother.
Another boy, age 9, who was hospitalized in critical condition after the crash, awoke Thursday after suffering brain trauma, according to health authorities. The 9-year-old boy’s mother remained hospitalized in stable condition.
Another three people who were injured in the collision were discharged Thursday from hospitals, according to Queensland Health.
Police said one helicopter was taking off and the other landing when they collided Monday afternoon near the Sea World theme park on Queensland state’s Gold Coast.
A pilot, two British visitors and the 10-year-old boy’s mother Vanessa Tadros, 36, were killed when the helicopter they were aboard plunged to the ground after its rotor blades were sheared off. Those most seriously injured were aboard that helicopter.
The pilot of the second helicopter managed to land safely on a sandy outcrop despite the aircraft suffering significant damage, authorities said.
Queensland Health said 10-year-old Nicholas Tadros from Sydney remained in critical condition. A family relative told News Corp the boy’s latest surgery to stop internal bleeding had been successful.
Earlier this week, the boy’s father, Simon Tadros, wrote on social media that his son was in an induced coma and hooked up to a life support machine to help him breathe.
“He is in a very serious and critical state. I’m asking for all your prayers to bring my little man back to me,” Simon Tadros wrote.
Health authorities said 9-year-old Leon de Silva had awoken in Brisbane Children’s Hospital on Thursday morning. His mother Winnie, 33, was also awake and in a stable condition with two broken legs, a damaged left knee, broken right shoulder and broken collarbone.
Also killed in the crash were pilot Ashley Jenkinson, 40, and British tourists Ron Hughes, 65, and Diane Hughes, 57.
John Orr-Campbell, the director of Sea World Helicopters, which operated both aircraft, said in a statement that Jenkinson was “a first-class pilot, a first-class man and a wonderful father, partner and friend.”
He said the company also mourned the deaths of the passengers, and “cannot imagine the terrible sadness their families and loved ones must be feeling.”
Video shot by one of the passengers in the helicopter that managed to land showed another passenger trying to warn the pilot that the second helicopter was fast approaching by tapping him on the shoulder.
The passenger then squeezes the edge of the pilot’s seat to brace as the cockpit is sprayed with broken glass after one of the second helicopter’s rotor blades strikes the windshield.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the crash.