Surviving Sea World pilot Michael James loses battle with cancer 18 months on from crash

Steve Hart and Dominique Tassell
7NEWS
Michael James survived the 2023 disaster.

The surviving pilot of last year’s Sea World helicopter crash has died, losing a battle with cancer.

Michael James died on May 24, a source confirmed to 7NEWS.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Surviving Sea World crash pilot Michael James dies.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

James was hailed as a hero after he guided his badly damaged aircraft to land safely on a sandbank following the midair collision with fellow pilot Ash Jenkinson’s aircraft on January 2 last year.

The 53-year-old was diagnosed with cancer about three months after the Gold Coast helicopter crash.

Jenkinson, Sydney woman Vanessa Tadros and English tourists Diane and Ron Hughes died in the crash, while nine people were left injured — including three who were left in a critical condition.

Tadros’ son Nicholas, then 10, survived critical injuries and had his right leg amputated from the knee down.

Winnie Da Silva and her son Leon, then nine, were seriously injured in the crash. Leon suffered brain trauma and was placed in an induced coma for some time.

New Zealand tourists Elmarie Steenberg, Riaan Steenberg, Edward Stewart and Marle Stewart were also injured in the crash.

The surviving pilot of last year’s Sea World helicopter crash has died, losing his battle with cancer.
The surviving pilot of last year’s Sea World helicopter crash has died, losing his battle with cancer. Credit: 7NEWS

James was seen immediately after the crash, pulling people from the wreckage before receiving treatment for his own injuries.

At the time, one of the surviving passengers posted online: “Our pilot, Michael James, you are our hero.”

A report later found James “did not recall” Jenkinson making a standard taxiing call to say he was taking off before their helicopters collided and crashed

James is survived by his wife and was farewelled in a private funeral on June 4.

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 18-07-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 18 July 202418 July 2024

Top Democrat leads calls for Joe Biden to step down as COVID diagnosis hits ailing campaign.