The pilot of the helicopter that crashed and killed a British couple in Australia had cocaine in his system, a report has revealed.
Ron Hughes, 65, and his wife Diane, 57, were on a sightseeing trip near Sea World in Queensland when they… Their helicopter crashed in mid-air into another On January 2, 2023.
The Cheshire couple died at the scene, as did fellow passenger Vanessa Tadros, 36, from New South Wales, and pilot Ashley Jenkinson, 40.
A year after the accident, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued an interim report indicating that Mr Jenkinson's toxicology report showed a positive result for cocaine metabolites.
However, the report concluded that “very low concentrations” meant it was “unlikely” to impair his ability to fly.
Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said the levels of metabolites indicated that “exposure was not likely to have occurred in the 24 hours prior to the incident”.
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He added: “It is important to note that although this is an objective and comprehensive interim report, the ATSB has not yet made formal findings on the contributing factors that led to this incident while we continue our analysis of that evidence.”
Jenkinson's family welcomed the interim report, according to local media, but asked those who knew him not to allow it to “tarnish the memory” of the pilot.
They also urge people to read the full report, which found “multiple factors contributing to this horrific incident.”
The ATSB investigation also found that some passengers' seat belts were not fitted properly, partly due to “interference from their life jackets”.
Mitchell said that was “not attributable to the tragic outcome in this case.”
He saw the accident Two Eurocopter EC130 helicopters collide in mid-air One was approaching the ground and the other had just taken off from a separate helipad.