Off-duty nurse desperately wanted to help Sea World chopper horror victims


An off-duty nurse who desperately wanted to help victims of the fatal Sea World helicopter crash that killed four people could only watch in horror.

The two helicopters collided mid-air on Monday in Main Beach on the Gold Coast in front of hundreds of shocked holidaymakers.

Local nurse Cecilia Marchisella was at the beach with her son during the crash about 2pm on Monday. 

Queensland nurse Cecilia Marchisella was at the beach with her son when the helicopter crash occurred about 2pm on Monday, and said she ‘just wanted to help, but I couldn’t’ 

Four people died when two helicopters collided mid-air on January 2 near Sea World Drive in Main Beach, as hundreds of tourists stood by helplessly

Four people died when two helicopters collided mid-air on January 2 near Sea World Drive in Main Beach, as hundreds of tourists stood by helplessly 

Ash Jenkins (pictured with wife) was the pilot of the helicopter which crashed, killing him and three other passengers

Ash Jenkins (pictured with wife) was the pilot of the helicopter which crashed, killing him and three other passengers

Ms Marchisella said she felt ‘compelled’ to pay tribute to the victims after seeing a Facebook post about the memorial site on Tuesday.  

She was the first person to bring an offering to the dedicated floral tribute site at Broadwater Parklands, laying a bunch of sunflowers, accompanied by her son and mother.

‘I just really feel for those people and their families,’ she told the Gold Coast Bulletin .

Ms Marchisella said bearing witness to the event affected her more than she anticipated.

‘Being a nurse, I felt if I could have got there, I could have helped in some way,’ she said.

‘I think that’s what hit me really hard. I feel like I just wanted to help, but I couldn’t.’  

One of the two helicopetrs crashed, killing the pilot, two British tourists and another woman from New South Wales, at the scene. A 10-year-old boy was taken to hospital with critical injuries

One of the two helicopetrs crashed, killing the pilot, two British tourists and another woman from New South Wales, at the scene. A 10-year-old boy was taken to hospital with critical injuries

British couple Ron and Diane Hughes were killed when the two helicopters collided, forcing one to crash to the ground

British couple Ron and Diane Hughes were killed when the two helicopters collided, forcing one to crash to the ground 

The collision caused one of the aircrafts to crash to a sandbar, killing pilot Ash Jenkinson, who grew up in the West Midlands of the UK before moving to Australia.

British couple Ron, 65, and Diane Hughes, 57, Sydney mother Vanessa Tadros, 36, were also killed and three others were seriously injured. 

The second helicopter managed to successfully land on a sandbank on the Broadwater with only minor injuries to the six on board.

Gold Coast council said the ‘tragedy on the Broadwater has understandably resulted in an outpouring of grief across our community’.

The council encouraged anyone wishing to place floral tributes to do so at an area allocated at the Broadwater Parklands, just south of the Southport Pier, near the Great Lawn.

Initial investigations indicated the crash occurred when one helicopter was landing and another was taking off near Sea World Drive in Main Beach.

A dedicated memorial site has been allocated at the Broadwater Parklands, just south of the Southport Pier (pictured), for members of the public wishing to pay tribute to the crash victims

A dedicated memorial site has been allocated at the Broadwater Parklands, just south of the Southport Pier (pictured), for members of the public wishing to pay tribute to the crash victims 

New South Wales mother Vanessa Tadros (pictured right) was the fouth victim killed in the tragic incident

New South Wales mother Vanessa Tadros (pictured right) was the fouth victim killed in the tragic incident 

The crashed aircraft had seven occupants on board, while the second aircraft which landed on the Broadwater sandbank held six occupants, including the pilot.

The helicopters were operated by a separate company to the popular resort. 

Footage from the moments leading up to the crash show the two helicopters converging, with terrified witnesses shouting ‘no!’ upon realising the fate of the aircraft. 

A 10-year-old boy also from Glenmore Park suffered critical injuries and was rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Queensland police said Operation Victor Sandlewood comprising Gold Coast criminal investigation branch detectives and the forensic crash unit was assisting the Australian Transport Safety Bureau with investigations.

Authorities appealed for witnesses, especially those who had video of the crash, and had not yet spoken to investigators, to come forward.

Gold Coast council said the Department of Communities and Red Cross will be on site at the Broadwater floral memorial to provide support to the public. The Community Recovery Hotline has also been activated.

Anyone wishing to place flowers directly into the Broadwater was asked to remove all packaging.

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