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A Birmingham-born pilot who recently became a father has been revealed as one of two Brits killed in a helicopter crash near Sea World on Australia’s Gold Coast.

A total of four people are known to have died when two helicopters collided mid-air in front of hundreds of horrified tourists, on Monday afternoon.

The collision caused one of the aircraft to plunge to the ground, killing pilot Ash Jenkinson, and three passengers when it landed upside down on a sandbank. 

Three other passengers on board, believed to be a woman and two children, were rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

Members of the air ambulance air lifted a child to hospital following the crash on Monday afternoon

Members of the air ambulance air lifted a child to hospital following the crash on Monday afternoon

Wreckage of two helicopters that crashed near Sea World on Australia's Gold Coast on Monday

Wreckage of two helicopters that crashed near Sea World on Australia’s Gold Coast on Monday

The pilot of the other helicopter was able to perform a controlled landing, despite the injuries to those onboard after the cockpit was smashed in by the collision.

Government investigators are now scouring through footage and the wreckage of the aircraft to determine how the pilots failed to see each other before the crash.

The incident took place on Monday afternoon at near Sea World, although the helicopters are operated by a separate company to the resort.

Mr Jenkinson was behind the controls of a helicopter that had picked up tourists for a pleasure ride over the picturesque coastal region.

Video footage from the moments before the crash shows the two helicopters converging on each other, with horrified witnesses shouting ‘no!’ upon realising they will collide.

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One family described seeing ‘the pilot and two elderly people in the front, a lady and a little boy next to her in the back, and another person next to them’ get on board the aircraft before the crash.

Gary Worrell, acting inspector at Queensland State Police, said: ‘Members of the public and police tried to remove the people and they commenced first aid and tried to get those people to safety from an airframe that was upside down.

‘Jet Skis, family boaters, ordinary members of the public rushed to assist these people.’

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is now investigating the cause of the crash to determine whether a communication error, system malfunction or something else led to the collision.

The incident happened on Australia's Gold Coast, close to the city of Brisbane, in Queensland

The incident happened on Australia’s Gold Coast, close to the city of Brisbane, in Queensland

Ash Jenkinson, pictured, has been named locally as the pilot killed in the crash which also left three passengers dead

Ash Jenkinson, pictured, has been named locally as the pilot killed in the crash which also left three passengers dead

Mr Jenkinson, pictured, died after the collision between the aircraft caused the helicopter to plunge into the sandbank

Mr Jenkinson, pictured, died after the collision between the aircraft caused the helicopter to plunge into the sandbank 

A police officer looks at the damaged cockpit of one of the helicopters following the fatal mid-air crash

A police officer looks at the damaged cockpit of one of the helicopters following the fatal mid-air crash

The Foreign Office has said that two of those who have lost their lives are British nationals and it is supporting their families.

An FCDO spokesperson told the BBC: ‘We are supporting the family of two British nationals who died in Australia and are in contact with the local authorities.’

Sea World Helicopters said: ‘We and the entire flying community are devastated by what has happened and our sincere condolences go to all those involved and especially the loved ones and family of the deceased.’

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Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which operates Sea World, said it offered its ‘deepest condolences to all those impacted’ by the tragedy.

‘While Sea World Helicopters is an independent professional operator, VRTP is working with emergency services and the authorities to provide every possible assistance,’ it said.

‘We are providing support to our team members who have been emotionally affected by the tragedy.

‘As it is now a police investigation, we cannot provide any further information at this stage.’

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted that country had been shocked by the ‘news of the terrible and tragic’ incident.

He wrote: ‘My thoughts are with all those affected, including first responders, and my deepest sympathies are with those who are grieving.’

Investigators stand by the wreckage of one of the helicopters after the fatal mid-air crash on Australia's Gold Coast

Investigators stand by the wreckage of one of the helicopters after the fatal mid-air crash on Australia’s Gold Coast 

Lifeguards and police arrive at the scene of the crash by boat on Monday afternoon

Lifeguards and police arrive at the scene of the crash by boat on Monday afternoon 

An investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will try to determine the cause of the fatal incident. 

Angus Mitchell, Chief Commissioner of the bureau, said: ‘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.’

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Sea World Helicopters had been operating at the site for about three decades and conditions appeared ideal  on the day of the crash with clear skies.

In 1991 seven people were killed when a helicopter from the company plunged into nearby South Stradbroke Island and burst into flames.

An investigation by the Bureau of Air Safety later found that the pilot, Glen Wells, 27, had collapsed at the controls, causing the crash.

Since then the fleet has been upgraded, with all helicopters fitted with Spidertracks GPS locating systems, which are designed to alert pilots to other aircraft in the vicinity.

In an interview for the company in 2021, Mr Jenkinson described the system as ‘easy’ to use and called it ‘very reliable and accurate’.  

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