Tributes for the ‘Top Gun’ pilot, who was killed in Monday’s horror chopper crash and became a father just last year, have arrived – as a devastated pal reveals the final text he sent him before the tragedy Has.
Ash Jenkinson, 40, originally from Birmingham in the UK, was among four people killed when the Sea World EC130 helicopter he was flying collided with another EC130 helicopter in mid-air before falling 30 meters on Monday crashed onto a sandbar in the Gold Coast Broadwater.
Three others – a mother, 35, and her son, 9, and another boy, 10 – were seriously injured in the accident and are in hospital in serious condition.
The pilot of the second helicopter, carrying five passengers, miraculously managed to land on a sandbar in the middle of the Broadwater, allowing everyone on board to run away.
Sea World helicopter chief pilot Ash “Jenko” Jenkinson, 40, died in the helicopter crash
The shattered wreckage of the helicopter is lifted off the sandbar
Mr Jenkinson welcomed his first child, a son, Kaiden, with his wife Kosha in September last year.
Ritchie Gregg, one of Jenkinson’s closest friends, has paid tribute to the dead pilot, saying he’s “a top guy, a top gun and the best dad” and his 17-month-old son Kaiden “would probably ask where dad is.” is”, right now.
Gregg said he texted Jenkinson when he heard from another of her friends via social media that there had been a crash and asked, “I hope it wasn’t you?”.
‘I heard it at ten past two. So I sent the message and waited for an answer.
“When he and Kosha had their son (in September 2021) he was the most excited dad. (Kosha) is very quiet, she’s in shock Kaiden…would probably ask where Dad is.
“They only got married in October,” he explained.
“Ash had the biggest heart and was the happiest guy. When he was done flying he would come home immediately to see his boy.
“Family was his biggest thing,” he said.
One of Jenkinson’s closest friends, Ritchie Gregg, texted Ash after learning about the tragedy on social media
Mr Jenkinson welcomed his first child, a son, Kaiden, with his wife Kosha in September last year
Another close friend, Andy Taylor, said he caught the terrible news with everyone else on social media.
“I saw it pop up in a post on social media,” Mr Taylor told Sunrise.
“I tried to call Ash right away. First the phone was dead then went to voicemail.
He described Mr Jenkinson as “a big bloke with a big heart” who helped out at the height of the NSW Northern Rivers flood crisis last year.
“He’s done a lot of charity work, we got through the Ballina floods and saved a lot of people,” Mr Taylor told Sunrise on Tuesday.
The pilot transported food, water and other essential supplies to flood survivors who were cut off from their communities for days.
“He’s the best of the best. I don’t know what else to say.”
Mr. Jenkinson was chief pilot at Sea World Helicopters and “loved” his job, according to Mr. Taylor, who spent a lot of time with him in the air.
“He was so good at what he did. He was on point, I don’t understand what happened,” Mr Taylor said.
“It was his life. It was everything for him.
“I don’t think he had any other hobbies. That’s it. That was all for him.”
“He was above all a family man. He loved his family, loved his baby,” Taylor said.
“His family was certainly first. Helicopter 2. But they were the two passions of his life.”
The heartbreaking accounts of witnessing the tragedy describe the dramatic moment in which a boy’s life may have been saved when he was unable to breathe immediately after the accident.
Gold Coast resident Travis Slatter was close to the scene when he witnessed members of the public and Sea World staff scrambling to help possible survivors, including a “lady who put a tube down the boy’s throat to make him breathe”.
Mr Slatter said the horrific scene struck the boy after he was heard moaning after the tube was inserted.
“It was a relief that there was a sign of life, I hope he pulls through but he has a lot to deal with after what happened.
He also described the heroism of the surviving pilot in the crash, who friends told Daily Mail Australia was a few years older than Mr Jenkinson.
Mr Slatter credits the second pilot with “saving many lives today” after watching his colleague Ash Jenkinson’s helicopter crash to the ground.
“To see him first hand and how cut up he was and for a second it looked like he was going to fall out of the sky too but managed to put it down is crazy,” Mr Slatter posted on Facebook.
Mr. Slatter also watched as members of the public and then Sea World staff and finally paramedics took over, describing the exploits of “a girl in black swimmers, three men and a legend in a party pontoon” helping the survivors.
Another man “poured water all over the fuel,” and others “attempted CPR.”
“It was messy but everyone put it together until the pundits took over and gave everyone their best chance,” Mr Slatter said. “Thoughts go out to everyone involved today.
“Everyone tried to even hold sheets and towels over people.”
Ritchie Gregg, pictured second left, with Ash Jenkinson, left, and two other buddies on their flood rescue trip to Ballina and Korokai in north NSW last year
Mr Jenkinson was a hero during the 2022 Northern Rivers flood crisis. Image: Included
Two of those killed in the tragedy are British citizens – a man, 65, and a woman, 57 – who were on holiday in Queensland.
The fourth person to die was a 36-year-old woman from Glenmore Park in NSW, police confirmed on Tuesday.
The three other passengers on the helicopter were a 35-year-old mother and her 9-year-old son from Geelong West in Victoria and a 10-year-old boy from Glenmore Park in NSW.
They were seriously injured in the accident and taken to hospital in critical condition.
The mother and her son were taken to Gold Coast University Hospital.
The other child was taken to Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane by RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopter.
As of Tuesday, this child is in critical condition at Queensland Children’s Hospital.
The mother and her son are in serious condition.
The two helicopters seconds before impact. Image: 9 NEWS
Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell confirmed in a news conference on Tuesday that the main rotor blade of the second helicopter manned by Mr Jenkinson collided with the cockpit of the second helicopter landing.
“This caused the main rotor and gearbox to separate from this (ascending) helicopter, which tragically meant it then had no lift and tragically fell to the ground,” he said
“The second helicopter to come ashore remarkably managed to land upright considering the front left portion of this helicopter was damaged…the fact that the helicopter was able to land was quite remarkable.”
He said the accident happened just a few hundred meters from the landing pad at Seaworld and 200 to 300 meters in the air.
Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are recovering the remains of the wrecked aircraft after the tide rose Tuesday morning.
The helicopters are examined by forensic and crash specialists.
Commissioner Mitchell said it was a “challenging process rescuing the helicopters from the sandbar”.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/gold-coast-chopper-crash-sea-world-helicopter-pilot-became-a-father-last-year-as-tributes-flow-in/ Gold Coast helicopter crash: The Sea World helicopter pilot became a father last year as tributes poured in