Dramatic new photos have been released by the family of four New Zealand tourists who survived a Gold Coast helicopter crash that killed four others.
Images of bloodsoaked thongs and a survivor on board the aircraft with blood streaming down her face were released on Sunday by the family of New Zealand tourists who survived.
Elmarie Steenberg, Riaan Steenberg, Marle Swart and Edward Swart were on board the helicopter that pilot Michael James managed to land on a sandbank in the Southport Broadwater after the mid-air collision last Monday.
Ms Steenberg and Ms Swart were released from the Gold Coast University Hospital last week, and are expected to return home to Auckland soon.
In a statement from the families, the group said they felt “grateful to have been spared” but noted there was still a long recovery ahead.
“The reality of the last five days’ events is sinking in and is a heavy weight to carry,” the statement read.
“The level of support and care we have received from strangers has, however, touched us deeply.
“Elmarie and Marle have sustained significant injuries and, at present, are feeling the weight of the recovery journey ahead of them.”
Monday’s crash killed Sea World Helicopters chief pilot Ash Jenkinson, British newlyweds Ron and Diane Hughes and Sydney mother Vanessa Tadros.
Victorian mother and son Winnie and Leon de Silva were also in one of the helicopters, and are recovering in separate hospitals
Ms Tadros’s son Nicholas also survived the crash, and remains in an induced coma.
“Nicholas is still currently in a critical yet stable condition,” St John the Beloved Youth Church, in Sydney’s west, wrote on Facebook on Friday.
“Doctors have told us that they are surprised he is handling that he is handling his critical situation this well,” they wrote.
“Nicholas is still currently in an induced coma, however we have been notified that a recent surgery that happened today was successful and hasn’t had any complications as of now.”
On Saturday, a crowd of about 200 people gathered at St Padre Pio church in Glenmore Park to pray for Nicholas’ survival.
It’s understood he will be transferred from the Gold Coast to a hospital in Brisbane this weekend.
In their statement, the families of Ms Steenberg and Ms Swart said they did not know how Channel 7 obtained footage taken inside the helicopter of the crash, which they said they had only released to the ATSB.
“We do not know how they obtained it, but it was only provided to investigators as part of their inquiries at the crash scene and after,” they said.
“This was intentionally kept out of the public domain out of respect for all the individuals affected by this tragic accident and it is extremely traumatising.”
“This has been traumatic for us as survivors, and we cannot imagine the terrible sadness their families and loved ones must be feeling.”
“We continue to pray for Nicholas, Leon and Winnie as they are still in hospital with severe injuries and are mourning the loss of Ash Jenkinson and other passengers who lost their lives.”
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating the crash, with its cause yet to be determined.