Hero pi­lot pulled woman out

US tourists die in Hardy Reef crash

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Madura McCormack Madura.McCormack@ dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

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.

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