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60 Minutes: Sea World helicopter crash couple Elmarie and Riaan Steenberg speak out

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Two couples who survived the horror Sea World helicopter crash which killed four people have detailed the horror ordeal.

Elmarie and Riaan Steenberg were holidaying on the Gold Coast from New Zealand with friends Edward and Marle Swart when the chopper they were travelling in collided with another on January 2.

The pilot of the other helicopter Ash Jenkinson, British tourists Ron and Diane Hughes and Sydney woman Vanessa Tadros were killed in the tragedy.

Mrs Tadros’s son Nicholas, 10, was critically injured while Geelong woman Winnie de Silva and her son Leon, nine, suffered serious injuries.

The couples will speak for the first time about the tragedy in a 60 Minutes segment set to air on Sunday night.

In a preview of the segment, Ms Steenberg described the moment she realised something was wrong.

“We thought it’s just a five-minute flight, that’ll be fun,” Mrs Swart said.

Her husband added: “What can go wrong?”

But as they were enjoying the sights, Ms Steenberg realised there was “helicopter underneath me”.

“I knew we were in serious trouble,” she said.

Tragedy soon ensued as the helicopters collided and plummeted towards the ground.

However, the couples’ pilot Michael James was at the controls of the other vehicle and managed to land it safely on the sandbank.

They later released a joint statement where they thanked Mr James and first responders for their actions.

“Their care and heroism changed our lives,” the statement said.

“Our pilot, Michael James. You are our hero. You landed the helicopter safely and kept the bystanders and us safe. We are eternally grateful to you.”

An investigation into the crash is ongoing by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau but a final verdict isn’t expected until 2024.

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