15 Jun 2021

'I told her I loved her': Husband spoke to wife after horror helicopter crash

10:22 am on 15 June 2021

A woman involved in Saturday's helicopter crash near Christchurch was able to describe the horror of what happened by phone to her husband before emergency services arrived on the scene.

Wedding photographer Rachel Jordan was one of the four people injured in a helicopter crash in Canterbury.

Wedding photographer Rachel Jordan was one of the four people injured in a helicopter crash in Canterbury. Photo: Givealittle

All four people on board the helicopter remain in Christchurch Hospital - three of them with serious injuries - while an investigation into the cause of the crash at a golf resort continues.

Among the injured are newlyweds Mahdi Zougub and Fay El Hanafy, along with the wedding photographer Rachel Jordan, who spoke to husband Eric before emergency services arrived at the crash site.

Eric Jordan told Morning Report: "I received a phone call on my mobile phone from someone on site that was a witness there and [Rachel] had a moment of consciousness where she actually gave him my mobile number... I could hear some screaming in the background and people sounded really scared. I had a moment to speak with Rachel and she told me she was afraid that her back was broken and she couldn't move her legs.

"I told her I loved her and told her to hang in there and everything would be OK and that's when the rescue teams arrived and they took her away and that was the last time I spoke to her before I got to see her in the hospital...

"Rachel has been through quite a lot in the last couple of days. She's had two emergency surgeries. She had one first on her back which they put in pins and rods to sort of stabilise her spine and then last night she underwent emergency surgery on her arms and her ankles just to put pins and rods in because the bones were pretty much crushed from the helicopter," Jordan said.

"Today we learned that went really well so we're just happy for that now."

Surgeons said it was going to be a long road to recovery.

"They are expecting three months in the hospital at least and they are concerned about the injuries to her spine, she's got some significant swelling so they are going to keep an eye on that and hope that makes a turn for the best. So we're just going to keep an eye on that and remain positive. I'm just trying to keep her hopeful and in good spirits."

She had a sense of humour and was trying to remain positive, he said.

"She's obviously hooked up to a lot of different machines and she's immobilised and has got casts all over her body, so she can't move a whole lot and she's having some trouble breathing so she's got a breathing tube."

The crash happened after takeoff, Civil Aviation Authority said.

The crash happened after takeoff, the Civil Aviation Authority said. Photo: SUPPLIED/ Stuff - John Kirk-Anderson

Jordan was trying to hang in as best he could.

"It's the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with. Me and my wife are very close and we just care for one another a lot to see her in this vulnerable position is real tough for me and I'm just trying to remain strong because I know I'm going to have to get her through this long period of recovery."

He'd also had to explain to his 10-year-old son that his mother had been badly hurt.

Jordan said his wife had a fear of flying.

"She was nervous about the flight from the Bay of Islands where we live to Christchurch to shoot the wedding. She had confided in me that she was worried about the plane ride over so to have it turn out to be the helicopter was unexpected... She told me she had a premonition that maybe something was going to go bad but that's something she gets a lot ... that's pretty expected of her. But to have something actually bad go wrong was quite unfortunate."

He and the families of the other victims had been able to rally around each other and provide support.

"We've formed a special bond together because we know we are going to have to help each other."

A Givealitte page has been set up for Rachel Jordan.

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