Hero pilot pulled woman out
US tourists die in Hardy Reef crash
A HAWAIIAN couple killed in a helicopter crash in the Whitsundays were on their dream honeymoon after getting married in December.
Pete and Sue Hensel, aged 79 and 65, were pulled from the wreckage of the Airbus H120 about 3.30pm on Wednesday.
It’s been revealed the pilot of the Whitsunday Air Services aircraft pulled Mrs Hensel out of her seat, but his efforts and those of the tourists on a nearby pontoon were not enough to save the American tourist.
The couple – described by friends as “perfect for each other” and “so in love” – left the Hawaiian town of Kona earlier this month.
With them was believed to be Sue’s daughter, 33, and her partner, a man aged 34.
Sue’s daughter and son-in-law survived the crash, as did the 35-year-old pilot who works for Whitsunday Air Services.
Pete’s friend of 25 years, Vern Ungerecht, told News Corp last night that the couple shared “a beautiful story”.
“They were so happy. Both of them had been single forever, so when they got together they had never been so happy,” Mr Ungerecht said from his home in Hawaii.
“We used to have drinks with them at the bar almost every day. Pete doesn’t say much, but Sue, she was always chatting and smiling.
The couple’s honeymoon to the Whitsundays was the trip of a lifetime and something they had been planning “forever”, Mr Ungerecht said.
“For them to go doing something they had looked forward to for so long, we can take some pleasure in that,” he said.
Pete was retired, while Sue worked for a bookkeeping service.
Fellow lodge goer and friend Ron Coleman said their love was always evident. “They just got closer and closer and finally got married,” he said.
“It’s been a real shock to us, oh my god, they were a fixture, you’d go in there and they’d be there. Now they won’t be there anymore.”
Meanwhile, the heroes who tried to save the couple’s lives have been hailed as heroes by police.
Early investigations show the 35-year-old pilot pulled Sue from the front passenger seat.
Mackay District Inspector Ian Haughton said the effort taken to try and save the couple was “great community spirit”.
“No one gave up. They just kept going,” Insp Haughton said.
“To do CPR for that length of time takes a toll physically. It’s an exceptionally long time. It shows great community spirit, that people are willing to do what they did.”
FATALITY: Pete and Sue Hensel from Hawaii have been identified as the couple who perished in the helicopter crash in the Whitsundays at Hardy Reef.