Gold Coast Helicopter Crash Video: Footage from the cockpit in flight shows the moment a passenger spots the helicopter just before the collision

WARNING: Disturbing content

The confrontation with footage from inside a helicopter involved in the crash near Sea World on the Gold Coast will play a key role in the investigation into how the fatal crash happened, an expert says.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Moment a tourist sounds the alarm seconds before the fatal GC helicopter crash.

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Footage captured by 7NEWS this week shows the moment a passenger in the back seat points at something in front of him before colliding with an ascending helicopter.

Four people were killed in Monday’s clash.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau was tasked with investigating the crash.

Peter Carter, himself a pilot and Carter Capner Law attorney, told Sunrise this week that the video will play a key role in the investigation.

“It’s a very useful video for investigators, they’ll be able to correlate the information they can see there with some things they already know, like the aircraft’s altitude and position,” he said.

“It also shows that everything seemed normal before the accident.

“It shows, in my estimation, that the plane is below 1000 feet, it has just passed one of the landing zones… it shows that the pilot did not notice the other plane. It may indicate that one of the passengers was made aware of something and was trying to get the pilot’s attention.”

He said the operator of the helicopters will have procedures in place to ensure they don’t fly too close together.

One aspect of this, Carter said, was the pilots broadcasting their intention to land and take off.

“Investigators will need to listen to these broadcasts, they will have transcripts from Airservices Australia and they will be able to tell if the relevant broadcasts were made.

“The departing helicopter should have broadcast that it was departing, and so should the other planes.”

Terrifying footage has emerged from one of the helicopters involved in the mid-air disaster that killed four people. Credit: 7NEWS

In the footage, the person filming pans across the scene before another passenger in the back seat points to something in front of them.

This passenger is then seen preparing for impact by grabbing the pilot’s seat as the helicopter’s windshield shatters, hurling glass throughout the cabin and the video ends. has chosen not to show the footage in full.

On board the helicopter were Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg and Marle and Edward Swart, all from Auckland, New Zealand, pilot Michael James and another unnamed passenger.

Elmarie Steenberg confirmed on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon that the group was involved in the crash.

“I’m still in the Gold Coast hospital recovering from my injuries,” she said.

“I can only thank God for sparing us all.”

The Steenbergs’ son, Enrico, thanked Michael James on Instagram for the safe landing.

“Thanks (sic) to the pilot who saved my parents from the crash and all prayers to the family who lost loved ones,” he wrote.

Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg, as well as Marle and Edward Swart, all from Auckland, New Zealand, were on board the landing helicopter. Credit: Facebook

ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said the helicopter taking off had been airborne less than 20 seconds before the crash.

“After the collision, it was a matter of seconds before it hit the ground,” he told reporters.

“So it evolved very quickly.”

Mitchell said the helicopter’s main rotor blade collided with the descending helicopter’s front cockpit, causing significant damage to the helicopter as it landed.

“Whether that was exactly the very first point of impact – we have yet to determine,” he said.

“But that alone caused the main rotor in the gearbox to separate from the main helicopter, which then had no lift and fell heavily to the ground.”

Remarkable landing

Mitchell said the second landing helicopter remarkably managed to land upright.

Noting the damage done to the front left area where pilot Michael James was seated, he said the landing was a “remarkable achievement.”

“We could have had a much worse situation here,” he said. “The fact that a helicopter was able to land was remarkable.”

The ATSB has launched an investigation into the crash and is still reconstructing the exact sequence of events.

Investigators will examine the wreckage and map the accident site, as well as collect evidence and interview witnesses.

Mitchell said the takeoff and landing phases of any aircraft operation are critical phases of flight.

Pilots’ cognitive workload is currently at its highest, he said.

“What we need to know now is what was going on in those two cockpits back then.”

The investigation will examine the visibility for both pilots and what exactly happened in both cabins on Monday afternoon.

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James Brien

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