Bobby and Emily Sheets
Bobby and Emily Sheets

Helicopter crash pair on ‘bucket list’ trip of a lifetime

A COLORADO couple who quit their jobs to travel the world were two survivors of a horror helicopter crash in the Whitsundays which killed two other tourists.

Emily and Bobby Sheets were on a "bucket-list" trip of a lifetime with Emily's mother Sue Hensel and her husband Pete when their joy flight turned to tragedy.

The group arrived in Australia a week ago after spending family time in Kona, Hawaii, where Sue and Pete reside.

"This March, we'll be headed down under to AUSTRALIA! Been on the bucket list for a while, so we're pretty excited. It will be continent 6 of 7," the pair posted online.

"Well, we're off!!! First stop Kona, then Australia. Make sure you're following us to see our travels!!", they said in another post.

Newlyweds Sue, 65, and Pete, 79, were killed on Wednesday when the Airbus H120 helicopter crashed while trying to land on a pontoon northeast of Hamilton Island.

The Courier-Mail understands the pilot, a 35-year-old Whitsundays man, helped rescue the group, alongside horrified onlookers who performed CPR guided by paramedics on the phone.

A file photo of the Whitsunday Air Services helicopter which crashed near Hardy’s Reef on Wednesday.
A file photo of the Whitsunday Air Services helicopter which crashed near Hardy’s Reef on Wednesday.

A devastated family member said Emily, 33, and Bobby, 34, had been unable to contact their loved ones.

"Bobby and Emily lost their cell phones in the crash and are unavailable," the family member said.

"They are safe with minor injuries but unfortunately Emily's mother and stepfather did not survive this tragic accident.

"Our family appreciates your prayers and thoughts for our families and those involved."

In June 2016, Emily said she and Bobby - from Louisville, north of Denver - had decided to pursue a career in travel.

Peter and Sue Hensel died when their helicopter crashed near Hardy Reef in the Whitsundays. Picture: Facebook
Peter and Sue Hensel died when their helicopter crashed near Hardy Reef in the Whitsundays. Picture: Facebook

"I would say that we've worked for the last year on this dream, but really, everything in our lives has led up to this moment," Emily wrote on Facebook.

"Last week we sold our house, our possessions, and we quit our day jobs to travel the world indefinitely. We spent the last weekend travelling Yellowstone with our family, but today we are truly on our own.

"We have unlimited freedom. We have unlimited responsibility. It's scary. It's amazing."

Submersible robots are expected to be tasked to help float the downed helicopter from a depth of 58m on the sea floor.

Police and air safety investigators believe it may be weeks before efforts can be made to retrieve the ill-fated Airbus H120.

It is understood survivors and witnesses were yesterday still giving statements to a four-man team from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau about the incident.

Sue and Pete were expected to return to Hawaii next week.



There's a chance the cows could get wet this weekend

There's a chance the cows could get wet this weekend

Showers and thunderstorms building if you're lucky to get under them

Waste levy increased under decision to delay start

premium_icon Waste levy increased under decision to delay start

Comprehensive waste management strategy announced today.

Local operators shine at Queensland Tourism Awards

premium_icon Local operators shine at Queensland Tourism Awards

Standout night for the Southern Great Barrier Reef region

Local Partners