Wedding Photographer

Canterbury wedding helicopter crash: Chopper suffered “total loss of power”

Ronnie Ronalde, head of operations at CPG Hotel Group, describes the “horrific” accident with the bride and groom on board. Video / George Heard

The helicopter involved in a crash that seriously injured four people, including the bride and groom on their wedding day, suffered total engine failure.

Wyndon Aviation, the helicopter company involved, said in a statement today that the engine lost power shortly after takeoff, causing the Robinson R44 helicopter to crash.

“Although the investigation is still in its early stages, we have established that the helicopter’s engine suffered a complete loss of power shortly after take-off,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“In other words, the engine had stopped.

“Statistically, this is a very rare event.”

Investigation into the crash, which happened on Saturday, found no reason for the engine to lose power, the spokesperson said.

The helicopter company first met the close family of the bride, groom and wedding photographer involved in the crash.

The families were told that the loss of engine power was the cause of the accident.

“It is imperative that we find the cause of the loss of engine power,” said a spokesperson.

“This accident will raise the profile of the Robinson helicopter even further, but it must be remembered that the R44’s powerhouse is supplied by a reputable third-party manufacturer.”

The helicopter was carrying the newlyweds Fay El Hanafy and Mahdi Zougub, whose wedding day it was. Female pilot and photographer Rachel Jordan was also on board.

All four suffered serious injuries, including broken bones.

The pilot suffered “significant injuries to his hand, wrist, leg and back, including fractures and lacerations.”

All four occupants were seriously injured in the accident.  Photo / George Heard
All four occupants were seriously injured in the accident. Photo / George Heard

Jordan suffered spinal fractures, five fractured ribs, a lung laceration, a broken sternum, a broken arm, and fractured feet.

Her husband Eric said she feared her back might be broken when they spoke on the phone right after the accident and before emergency services arrived.

“I heard… a lot of screaming in the background that I assumed was the bride and groom and the pilot, who had also been injured,” she told him.

“She told me that she remembered that the engine had gone out at some point, that it had completely lost power in the air, and it seemed like everything was dead.”

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