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Deadly mushroom lunch survivor speaks out for the first time

<p>The man who survived the deadly mushroom lunch in Victoria last year has spoken out for the first time, sharing what has kept him going through the tragedy. </p> <p>Pastor Ian Wilkinson, 70, was hospitalised for ingesting the poison, which claimed the lives of his wife Heather, his brother Don and his sister-in-law Gail, after attending lunch at Erin Patterson's home on July 29th 2023. </p> <p>Ms Patterson has since been charged with three counts of murder and five of attempted murder after inviting her ex-husband’s family over to her home for lunch and allegedly serving them the poisoned dish.</p> <p>Six months on, Ian Wilkinson addressed his congregation as he returned to the Korumburra Baptist Church on Sunday for the first time since the alleged poisoning, saying it had been a “big week” full of milestones for him.</p> <p>“At the start of the week it was six months since Heather, Gail and Don went to be with the Lord …” he told the congregation.</p> <p>“Friday was my birthday and yesterday was our 45th wedding anniversary."</p> <p>“So it’s been a pretty big week but I am grateful for all that God has given me, God has done through me.”</p> <p>The week prior marked 25 years since he first took on the role of pastor of the Korumburra parish, with the parishioners offering him a small gift following the sermon.</p> <p>Mr Wilkinson seemed overcome with emotion during parts his sermon, sharing with the congregation that he was grateful to be back after a terrifying two-month stint in the hospital while he fought for his life after the poisoning. </p> <p>“The ways are sometimes hard but God is good. He’s with us,” he said.</p> <p>“He promised to never leave … and I can say, that is true.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Supplied</em></p>

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Cancer survivor becomes world's strongest great-grandmother

<p>An Australian great-grandmother has become a world-record holder for an impressive feat in the gym. </p> <p>Heather Maddern, 80, found a new love of weightlifting after she decided to hit the gym to regain strength after beating cancer three times. </p> <p>Now, she is officially the world's strongest great-grandmother. </p> <p>"I hold the Australian and world record for an 80-year-old lady. It's amazing," she told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/great-grandmother-strongest-powerlifting-world-records/ffe9aa0e-9fc9-40b5-b8ff-d8744b37de0c" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>.</p> <p>"I just absolutely love the life I am living and I put it all down to powerlifting."</p> <p>Maddern, who suffers from Parkinsons, lifted the record-breaking 80kgs in Brisbane at a powerlifting competition, saying she is "absolutely chuffed" to break the world record for her age group. </p> <p>Reflecting on the moment she broke the record, Maddern said, "I just put it [the bar] down and went through the crowd with a big smile on my face, I was absolutely chuffed."</p> <p>Before the great-grandmother discovered her love for lifting weights, she was barely able to walk up and down stairs due to extensive chemotherapy and radiation to treat her cancer, and decided to make a change.</p> <p>"I was very weak, my posture wasn't very good. I was extremely tired. I knew I had to do something to change it, otherwise it would keep getting worse and worse," she said. </p> <p>Her coach, Jill Cox, said, "We had to help Heather walk down the stairs to get into the gym. She is inspirational. what she can do, anybody can do."</p> <p>Heather's life has changed drastically since she regularly started going to the gym, and despite being 80 years old, she has never felt better. </p> <p>"My son six months ago thought I was totally crazy, now they are all so very proud of me," she said. </p> <p>"I just feel so fit. Mentally I feel clearer headed and happy all of the time."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

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Injured mother and son finally reunited after Daylesford crash

<p>Two survivors of the Daylesford crash have been reunited in hospital, nearly two weeks after the tragedy that claimed the lives of five people. </p> <p>Among those killed were Vivek Bahtia and his 11-year-old son Vihaan, while his 36-year-old wife Ruchi and younger son, aged six, were injured and taken to separate hospitals.</p> <p>Now, Ruchi and her six-year-old boy have been reunited at the Royal Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, after a gruelling 11 days apart. </p> <p>After the emotional reunion, the mother was taken back to the Royal Melbourne Hospital to continue treatment.</p> <p>Members of their family told <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/car-accidents-melbourne/daylesford-pub-crash-victim-update-as-surviving-mum-and-son-reunite-c-12574232" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>7News</em></a> that the mother and son still have a long way to go in their recovery, and are also devastated by the loss of their family.</p> <p>To help the grieving family, a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/daylesford-tragedy-helping-the-bhatia-family" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page was set up after the crash to help cover medical and funeral costs, with the page raising more than $140,000.</p> <p>“We request the community to get behind the Bhatia family — Vivek and his 11-year-old son have lost their lives and Ruchi and her youngest son are hospitalised,” the fundraiser, organised by family friends Preet Singh and Ruby Kaur, states.</p> <p>“It will be a long way to recovery and to get over this unbearable loss.”</p> <p>Last week, Ruchi’s friend Ruby Kaur told <em>7News</em> the mother didn’t see the car coming before it hit her family.</p> <p>“They were enjoying their meal and then she woke up at the hospital. She says she does not know anything. She did not even see the car coming,” she said. </p> <p>Kaur said Ruchi has been asking questions about the crash, mainly about the driver.</p> <p>“She’s asking: ‘Where is that person? Why did he do that?’,” Kaur said.</p> <p>The driver, a 66-year-old man, has been questioned by police, but no charges have been laid as their investigation continues. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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"Immense relief": Death cap mushroom survivor released from hospital

<p>Ian Wilkinson, the survivor of a suspected mushroom poisoning incident, has been discharged from Melbourne's Austin Hospital after spending two months in critical condition following a family gathering.</p> <p>Wilkinson, a Baptist pastor residing in the quaint South Gippsland town of Korrumburra, was among four individuals who fell seriously ill after consuming a beef Wellington dish suspected to have been contaminated with death cap mushrooms.</p> <p>Tragically, Wilkinson's wife, Heather, lost her life in the aftermath, as did Heather's sister, Gail Patterson, and her husband, Don.</p> <p>Ian managed to pull through, and his release from the hospital marked a significant milestone in his recovery. The Wilkinson family expressed their profound gratitude towards the hospital staff for their relentless dedication and exceptional care during this challenging period.</p> <p>"We are pleased to announce that Ian Wilkinson has made significant progress in his recovery and was released from Austin Hospital on Friday," the family said in a statement. "This milestone marks a moment of immense relief and gratitude for Ian and the entire Wilkinson family.</p> <p>"The Wilkinson family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the Leongatha, Dandenong and Austin Hospitals for their unwavering dedication and exceptional care that played a pivotal role in Ian's recovery.</p> <p>"The medical team's expertise and compassion have been a source of comfort and hope throughout this journey.</p> <p>"Additionally, the family is profoundly grateful for the outpouring of support, prayers, and well-wishes from the Korumburra community, church, friends, family, and colleagues.</p> <p>"This collective kindness has been a pillar of strength for Ian and the family, reinforcing the sense of unity and compassion that defines our community.</p> <p>"As Ian continues his journey towards full recovery, the Wilkinson family kindly requests that their privacy be respected."</p> <p>Meanwhile, the woman responsible for preparing the ill-fated meal, Erin Patterson, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/details-of-erin-patterson-s-police-statement-around-fatal-mushroom-meal-revealed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">remains a suspect</a> as police homicide detectives continue their investigation into the three tragic deaths. She vehemently denies any wrongdoing.</p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

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Update from survivor of deadly mushroom meal

<p>The lone survivor of a group of four individuals who consumed a meal containing suspected poisonous mushrooms has received an update from the family. The Victorian community continues to extend their support during this time.</p> <p>Tragedy struck as Don and Gail Patterson, along with Gail’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, lost their lives after partaking in a lunch gathering at the residence of Erin Patterson, Don and Gail's former daughter-in-law. The incident occurred in Leongatha, located in the southeastern region of Victoria, on July 29.</p> <p>Erin Patterson had prepared a meal for the group, which also included Heather's husband, Ian Wilkinson, a pastor at a Baptist church. The attendees fell seriously ill after the meal, exhibiting symptoms that aligned with the ingestion of toxic death cap mushrooms, according to the police.</p> <p>On a recent Sunday evening, Ian Wilkinson's family expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the medical staff at Austin Hospital for their consistent care and support. They also acknowledged the numerous cards and letters received from concerned individuals in the public.</p> <p>The family shared: “We are deeply moved by the outpouring of kindness, prayers, and support from friends, family, and the broader community.” </p> <p>“Your thoughts and well-wishes have been a source of strength and comfort to us all.</p> <p>“As we navigate this difficult journey, we kindly request that our privacy be respected. We need space to grieve, support one another, and care for Ian without public intrusion.”</p> <p>While Ian Wilkinson, aged 70, remains in critical but stable condition at a hospital in the northeastern part of Melbourne, reports indicate that members of the South Gippsland community are willing to step forward as organ donors. Local councillor Jenni Keerie stated that people have been reaching out to her to inquire about becoming donors.</p> <p>Nathan Hersey, the Mayor of South Gippsland Shire, noted that the community has been discussing the significance of organ donation. In the absence of a community donor, Wilkinson might face a wait of up to a year for a new liver. It is worth noting that the majority of organ recipients in Australia experience waiting periods of at least nine months while searching for a suitable match.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / A Current Affair</em></p> <p><strong><em>EDITOR'S NOTE: We received a number of comments in response to this article concerning organ donation. This one from a Reader really deserved being appended to the article:</em></strong></p> <p><em>"I am a forever grateful liver recipient whose life was miraculously saved when all had gone catastrophically wrong. <a href="https://www.transplantadvocacy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.transplantadvocacy.com/</a> The only way we can increase organ donation is to increase next of kin consent rates. In Australia every person who passes under the right circumstances is a potential donor. Whether they are registered or not their family will be asked to consider organ donation and must give their consent for donation to proceed. Sadly 46% of families say no. In Victoria it is closer to 50%. Families are critical for organ donation and for a deceased donor to be found to support the victim of the Victorian poisoning, another healthy Victorian will need to pass tragically and on life support. Waiting for a donor is not like waiting for a spare part for your car from the factory. It is more like finding the perfect part at a car wreckers after someone has written of their car but the part you need is still ok. You can help raise awareness by helping to get families having the conversation about organ donation before </em><em>tragedy strikes. Not waiting until they learn their loved one is never coming home." </em><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> – </em><em>Robert Manning, </em><em>Forever grateful recipient and passionate Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplant Awareness Advocate. Founder and Senior Advocate <a href="https://www.transplantadvocacy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.TransplantAdvocacy.com</a></em></p>

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“I really thought it was the end”: Death cap mushroom survivor breaks silence

<p dir="ltr">The man who survived the poisoning effects of eating a death cap mushroom has spoken out, after consuming the deadly ingredients in a dish of spaghetti bolognese prepared by his wife.</p> <p dir="ltr">The same toxic mushroom is now linked to a suspected poisoning in Victoria that has claimed the lives of three people. </p> <p dir="ltr">The shocking incident occurred in 1998, when Simon Claringbold was a robust and athletic 39-year-old, who had an active lifestyle and regularly ran marathons. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Claringbold told ABC’s <em>7.30</em> program that he picked the mushrooms in his backyard in Canberra earlier in the day, thinking they were field mushrooms, before discovering they were actually death caps. </p> <p dir="ltr">His wife then cooked them into a spaghetti bolognese, and just 18 hours after eating the contaminated meal, his health took a turn for the worst. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Claringbold was rushed to hospital after he became violently ill and started rapidly deteriorating, triggering an arduous battle for his life. </p> <p dir="ltr">The toxic mushrooms Mr Claringbold ingested are understood to be the same variety in the recent poisoning, however, Mr Claringbold’s survival from the ordeal is believed to be sheer luck.</p> <p dir="ltr">Medical experts have explained that death cap mushrooms can vary significantly in their toxicity, making it a game of chance for those who inadvertently ingest them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Their toxin levels aren’t going to be consistent; it’s not like taking a pill out of a bottle,” Mr Claringbold emphasised to <em>7.30</em>, highlighting the unpredictable nature of the poison.</p> <p dir="ltr">After presenting to the hospital with intense vomiting and diarrhoea, Mr Claringbold gave the hospital a sample of the mushroom to healthcare professionals, who tested the toxin. </p> <p dir="ltr">His health continued to spiral as he encountered hallucinations, moments of blackout and major stress on his liver. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I was preparing for the end, I really thought it was the end. The lights were starting to go out,” he recounted.</p> <p dir="ltr">Remarkably, Mr Claringbold defied the odds, emerging from the ordeal after an 11-day hospitalisation.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Claringbold’s story has come in the wake of the <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/new-details-emerge-in-fatal-mushroom-poisoning-incident">death of his parents</a>, Gail and Don Patterson, and Gail’s sister-in-law Heather Wilkinson, who died after ingesting the same variety of mushroom. </p> <p dir="ltr">Erin Patterson, the 48-year-old ex-wife of Simon Claringbold, allegedly prepared the meal, and had reportedly invited the family over for lunch to negotiate a reconciliation.</p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 18pt;"><em>Image credits: ABC - 7.30</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-e2f95f73-7fff-9efa-8aa8-e6222db6a2c9"></span></p>

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"I stand here with you as a survivor": Delta Goodrem's emotional tribute

<p>Delta Goodrem recently looked back on the 20th anniversary of the day she received a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma at the tender age of just 18.</p> <p>In a touching Instagram post, she revisited photographs and videos from that period, recalling the memories as vividly as if they had happened just yesterday.</p> <p>The songstress reminisced about the time when she was on the verge of making her international debut, only to be confronted with the life-altering news.</p> <p>At the time of her diagnosis, her debut album "Innocent Eyes" had reached the number one spot on the ARIA charts and was steadily climbing the charts in Europe.</p> <p>However, her dreams of global success were abruptly interrupted by the revelation that she had Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of blood cancer that affects the immune system.</p> <p>"July 8, 2003. I remember that day so clearly and all the mixed emotions that came with the news of being diagnosed with cancer while my album had been sitting at #1 for three months prior, and the third single hit #1 the same day," she wrote in her Instagram caption.</p> <p>"I was meant to be going over to Europe where my album had just debuted at #2 and #1 in all different countries that week to start international promo. One split second and all the plans had changed. That's life."</p> <p>Instead of embarking on her planned promotional tour in Europe, Goodrem swiftly underwent treatment for her cancer. However, she has no regrets about the turn of events, believing that everything happens for a reason.</p> <p>"There is meaning and beauty in facing these challenges from a different viewpoint. There must be a reason this is happening – How can I come out better? What is the lesson?" she expressed.</p> <p>Fortunately, in December 2003, Goodrem announced that her Hodgkin's lymphoma had gone into remission. Now, she views this as a "beautiful full circle moment" and the beginning of a "brand new chapter."</p> <p>"As I type this in London, I am working on the @deltagoodremfoundation's first-ever Gala event," she continued in her post. "I was working on new music and shows all day yesterday. Today, we're throwing a new music party. Being back here after 20 years, on the same date, has been one of the most incredible and meaningful experiences."</p> <p>While "honouring the journey" that led her to this point, Goodrem emphasises that it is the next steps that truly matter.</p> <p>"For those in the fight you are never alone and I stand here with you as a survivor xx.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CubqroeIv0w/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CubqroeIv0w/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Delta Goodrem AM (@deltagoodrem)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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“That’s why we call him Superman”: Sea World crash survivor speaks

<div> <div> <div> <div> <div> <p>The little boy who nearly lost his life in the tragic Sea World helicopter crash has revealed an update on his journey to recovery two months after the incident occurred.</p> <p>Nicky Tadros shared the news after months in hospital, with doctors initially unsure if the 10-year-old would make it out alive.</p> <p>“My kidneys have woken up and I’m no more on a fluid restriction,” he said on Nine’s A Current Affair.</p> <p>“And my liver levels have gotten better and all my blood test results have come back really good.”</p> <p>Nicky was on one of the helicopters that collided mid-air at Sea World on the Gold Coast.</p> <p>His mother, Vanessa Tadros, was killed alongside British tourists Ron and Diane Hughes and Sea World Helicopters chief pilot Ash Jenkinson. The other helicopter managed to land on a sandbank.</p> <p>Nicky’s father, Simon Tadros, said he was incredibly proud of his “strong willed” son’s recovery effort.</p> <p>“The bravery he’s showing and he’s just pushing through every kind of hardship,” Mr Tadros said.</p> <p>“That’s why we call him Superman, because everything you put in front of him, he just pushes it out on the way.”</p> <p>Despite the effort to save Nicky’s life, doctors were unable to save his right leg, with the 10-year-old having to undergo a five-and-a-half-hour operation to amputate.</p> <p>“I was nervous at the beginning because I thought they get a chainsaw and chop it off from Bunnings Warehouse,” he said.</p> <p>Although the boy had endured countless surgeries with a long road to recovery ahead, he was grateful for the support he received.</p> <p>“I thank [Australia] for everything because I know that they’re always praying for me and caring for me and that’s the same with dad,” he said.</p> <p>“[Dad]’s always caring for me, since day one he’s never left my side no matter what.</p> <p>“When I’m sad when I’m happy when I’m angry, he’s there for me.”</p> <p>Mr Tadros has celebrated each milestone as his son works toward leaving hospital and returning to his normal life.</p> <p>Nicky also shared what he was most looking forward to once he leaves hospital.</p> <p><em>Image credit: A Current Affair</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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"Where's mum?" Sea World helicopter crash survivor's heart-breaking question

<p dir="ltr">The husband of a mother who tragically died in the Sea World helicopter crash has shared the heart-breaking question his son Nicholas asked him when he awoke from his coma. </p> <p dir="ltr">Vanessa Tadros and her 10-year-old son were on the aircraft when it collided with another on January 2nd, as the crash claimed the life of Vanessa and three others. </p> <p dir="ltr">Nicholas miraculously survived the accident, and has spent the last seven weeks in intensive care recovering from life-altering injuries. </p> <p dir="ltr">After being in an induced coma, Nicholas awoke and asked his father Simon a question he had been dreading.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He said, ‘Where’s mum?’” Simon told Ally Langdon during an emotional interview on <em><a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/ally-langdon-speaks-about-her-emotional-interview-with-father-simon-tadros-about-sea-world-chopper-crash/af847866-bb2f-42be-8a15-d20d06a0c685">A Current Affair</a></em>. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I said she was in the crash with you.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“He said, ‘Yeah, I know, but where’s mum?’ I said, ‘Baby boy, mum had to go to Jesus.’”</p> <p dir="ltr">“And he just turned his head and closed his eyes,” bringing Ally Langdon to tears.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HelpingNicky?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HelpingNicky</a>: A heartbroken father recalls the final moments before his wife was killed and son was critically injured in the Gold Coast helicopter crash.</p> <p>See the full story, TONIGHT on A Current Affair.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9ACA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9ACA</a> | Watch LIVE 7pm <a href="https://t.co/cH1TElSUnM">pic.twitter.com/cH1TElSUnM</a></p> <p>— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) <a href="https://twitter.com/ACurrentAffair9/status/1627570052957605889?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 20, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Nicholas suffered extensive injuries in the crash breaking multiple bones, his kidneys are still not functioning unaided and his lungs collapsed from inhaling jet fuel.</p> <p dir="ltr">Doctors expect he will need to remain in hospital for at least another five months after deciding he will need to have his right foot amputated.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He said I’m not going to give up, Dad. I’m not going to leave you alone,” Simon recalled. </p> <p dir="ltr">“He’s a strong-willed boy. He’s a good kid.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Simon also recalled the final conversation he had with his wife before she boarded the helicopter with Nicholas. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I remember saying to my wife, I was thinking it’s amazing how quick they turn over these helicopters,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“My wife just turned around to me and said, “Babe, I’m sure they know what they’re doing””.</p> <p dir="ltr">Simon shared that he hasn’t been able to properly grieve the loss of his wife as he spends every minute at Nicholas’ bedside. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s been hard, it’s a daily struggle … I don’t leave his bedside until 12, 1 in the morning,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Even leaving to go lay my wife to rest … it was just hard to keep my mind focused on the one thing, I didn’t want to leave him… but we gotta do what we gotta do.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4354fcc6-7fff-a400-4ab6-5881ff20d5a6"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Nine News / Instagram </em></p>

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Thai cave rescue survivor dies aged just 17

<p>Duangphet Promthep, one of 12 boys who was rescued along with their soccer coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in northern Thailand, has died. </p> <p>Duangphet was found unconscious in his dormitory on Sunday, and sadly passed away two days later. While the exact cause of death is unknown at this time, reports from the United Kingdom suggest he had suffered a head injury. </p> <p>Duangphet had only been enrolled in Leicester’s Brooke House College Football Academy since late 2022. </p> <p>Thai non-profit organisation Zico Foundation, which had assisted him in getting a scholarship to study in England, shared its condolences on Facebook. </p> <p>“Zico Foundation would like to express its condolences and condolence for the passing away of Little Dom Duangphet Phromthep,” they wrote of Duangphet, who also went by the name ‘Dom’, “a student of Zico Foundation.”</p> <p>When Duangphet was only 13 years old, he was trapped with his soccer team - the Wild Boars soccer team of which he was captain - and their squad’s assistant coach for over two weeks in a cave system known as the ‘Great Cave of the Sleeping Lady'. </p> <p>The twelve boys were between the ages 11 and 16, and 4 kilometres into their fateful adventure, when rising floodwaters prevented their escape from Thailand’s fourth-largest cave system. </p> <p>It was an international effort to save the boys and their coach, with a search and rescue mission that spanned over two weeks, with divers from Thailand and from overseas stepping in to help. </p> <p>Some of the boys who were with him in those terrifying times shared their condolences on social media as news of his passing broke around the world. </p> <p>“Brother, you told me that we would be achieving our football dream,” wrote Titan Chanin Viboonrungruan. “If the next world is real, I want us to play football together again, my brother Dom.”</p> <p>“You told me to wait and see you play for the national team, I always believed that you would do it," Prachak Sutham said. "When we met the last time before you left for England, I even jokingly told you that when you come back, I would have to ask for your autograph.</p> <p>"Sleep well, my dear friend. We will always have 13 of us together."</p> <p>In a statement, Duangphet’s school principal Ian Smith said, “this event has left our college community deeply saddened and shaken.</p> <p>“We unite in grief with all of Dom's family, friends, former teammates and those involved in all parts of his life, as well as everyone affected in any way by this loss in Thailand and throughout the college's global family."</p> <p>Dom’s mother joined an online news conference and shared her hope that a Buddhist monk in England would be able to conduct rites for Duangphet.</p> <p>In that same conference, former Thai national soccer team coach and the Zico Foundation’s chairman Kiatisuk Senamuang, described his shock at the news of Duangphet’s passing. </p> <p>“My thoughts are with his family and friends,' he said, fighting tears. 'I think back to his dream of becoming a professional footballer, representing his country and his voice keeps speaking in my head.”</p> <p>He went on to explain that as far as he knew, Duangphet had been healthy, as a full health check had been performed in order for Duangphet to obtain his student visa. While his cause of death is currently unknown, an investigation into the cause will likely take place, and hopefully provide his loved ones with closure in this tragic time. </p> <p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

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“A miracle that I’m here”: Sea World helicopter crash survivor speaks out

<p>Disaster survivor Winnie De Silva has spoken to <em>Sunrise</em>’s Monique Wright about the devastating Sea World helicopter ride that she and her son, Leon, were passengers of.</p> <p>Winnie met Monique with a smile from her wheelchair, a necessity in the wake of her injuries - two broken legs, a crushed collarbone, blood clots, a severely wounded liver, and burns.</p> <p>Winnie and Leon were two of three survivors from their helicopter, with the other four people onboard losing their lives <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/investigation-launched-after-helicopter-crash-sees-four-dead" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in the accident</a>. </p> <p>“It was just a miracle that I’m here,” Winnie told Monique.</p> <p>The trip was a holiday for the mother and her nine-year-old son, and the flight a special treat for them both. </p> <p>“Up in the air I took two selfie photos for me and Leon,” Winnie said of the minutes before tragedy struck, “the water scenery was very beautiful, and Leon said to me ‘Mum, take photos’.”</p> <p>“We heard a bang,” she continued, going on to share her experience of the fatal crash, detailing the moment of collision. “When I saw the pilot’s side of the window, it’s broken. I could only see outside. </p> <p>“I would see clouds. I would see water underneath … and then I thought, ‘this is not going to be a helicopter ride anymore’.</p> <p>“The shaking was horrible. It was shaking both sides, and shaking continuously. It was just the end of life. And I had hope in the pilot, to me he’s my hero. I salute Ash, may he rest in peace.” </p> <p>Ash, the helicopter’s pilot, managed to get the aircraft above a sandbar, a move Winnie credits with saving herself and her son, Leon. Ash, unfortunately, lost his life that day. </p> <p>“I saw him struggle with trying to stabilise that helicopter,” Winnie recalled, “I didn’t see anyone else. I was looking at him.”</p> <p>“I held Leon’s hand, and I asked him to close his eyes,” she added, “and I closed my eyes as well, and I said to God ‘let your will be done’. When I closed my eyes, it was peace that came to myself. I can’t remember anything else.” </p> <p>Leon remains in hospital, where he is slowly improving. However, having been left with <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/young-helicopter-crash-survivor-wakes-from-coma" target="_blank" rel="noopener">damage to his brain</a> from the crash, he requires 24 hour care. Leon has been receiving treatment at Queensland Children’s Hospital, while Winnie has been at The Gold Coast University Hospital, and the two have only been able to see each other once in six weeks. </p> <p>Despite the tragedy, and the long and difficult road to recovery ahead of them, Winnie was open about her hope for the future, and expressed her gratitude for the miracle of their survival, telling Monique, “I am here, alive, and happy.</p> <p>“I am so thankful. I am doing okay right now, despite walking. But psychologically, mentally, I feel like there’s hope.” </p> <p><em>Images: Seven</em></p>

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Sea World helicopter crash survivors speak out

<p>Survivors of the deadly Sea World helicopter crash that killed four people have spoken out about the tragedy. </p> <p>Elmarie and Riaan Steenberg and Marle and Edward Swart, two couples from New Zealand, were holidaying in Queensland when the helicopter they were travelling in collided with another on January 2nd. </p> <p>Now, weeks after the incident occurred, the couples spoke with <em>60 Minutes</em> and revealed they are still picking glass out of their bodies.</p> <p>“I just want it out of my body because it reminds (me) of the day,” Ms Steenberg said.</p> <p>Ms Steenberg also shared how she knew they were in “serious trouble” when she saw the other helicopter underneath her.</p> <p>“We thought it’s just a five-minute flight, that’ll be fun,” Mrs Swart said.</p> <p>Her husband added, “What can go wrong?”</p> <p>“I saw the helicopter underneath me, and I knew we were in serious trouble and I actually said, ‘Please, God, help us’,”</p> <p>“And then I heard the explosion,” Ms Steenberg said.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">When two helicopters collided mid-air at Sea World on the Gold Coast, four friends from NZ never expected their new year's holiday to turn into a disastrous crash. They reflect on the joy of surviving, as well as the guilt and sorrow they have for the lives lost on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/60Mins?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#60Mins</a>. <a href="https://t.co/MkKFfV6mTW">pic.twitter.com/MkKFfV6mTW</a></p> <p>— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) <a href="https://twitter.com/60Mins/status/1622172822960226307?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 5, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>The couples’ pilot Michael James was at the controls of the other vehicle and managed to land it safely on the sandbank.</p> <p>They were taken to hospital and treated for their injuries and have since returned home to Auckland. </p> <p>Since returning to normal life, Ms Swart said the hardest part of the ordeal is knowing others died and being weighed down by the guilt of survival. </p> <p>"It's the hardest part and it's very real. The question everyday is: why?"</p> <p>“Why did we survive? We’re just ordinary, boring people. Why us, you know? We’re nothing special.”</p> <p>"So yeah, you think about that every day."</p> <p>The pilot of the other helicopter Ash Jenkinson, British tourists Ron and Diane Hughes and Sydney woman Vanessa Tadros were killed in the tragedy.</p> <p>Mrs Tadros’s son Nicholas, 10, was critically injured while Geelong woman Winnie de Silva and her son Leon, nine, suffered serious injuries.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 24px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><em>Image credits: 60 Minutes</em></p>

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"A living miracle": Deadly helicopter crash survivor speaks after waking from coma

<p>The young survivor of the deadly helicopter crash in Queensland has woken from his coma and spoken to his father for the first time since the tragedy. </p> <p>Nicholas Tadros was one of seven people on-board a joy ride helicopter that crashed near SeaWorld theme park on the Gold Coast.</p> <p>Four people died in the incident, including his mother Vanessa. </p> <p>The family's parish priest Suresh Kumar described the boy as a "living miracle" after he woke up from an induced coma almost one month after the horrific crash. </p> <p>“This little boy is a living miracle friends,” Father Kumar said in a post to Facebook on Saturday.</p> <p>The priest was overjoyed to reveal that Nicholas did not have any lasting brain injuries and was able to speak to his father Simon for the first time over the weekend.</p> <p>“A billion thanks to God. He doesn’t have brain injury,” Father Kumar said.</p> <p>“Simon is able to talk to him and Nicholas responds very clearly with names, dates etc though his voice is bit slur.”</p> <p>The priest went on to suggest that Nicholas’s miraculous survival could have been a result of the heroic acts of his late mother. </p> <p>“His mum Vanessa might have grabbed his head and protected him at the impact. She is a hero,” Father Kumar said.</p> <p>“Nicholas will be able to tell us when he is able to recollect. May Vanessa’s soul rest in peace.”</p> <p>Nicholas still has a long road to recovery ahead of him, as the medical team in charge of his care are working to save his leg form amputation after it was "shattered very badly" during the crash. </p> <p>“We have got to keep praying that his leg is not amputated as the danger of losing his leg is still looming,” Father Kumar said. </p> <p>“Overall, our little champ is fighting the good fight and keeps improving.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

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New photos capture devastating reality of helicopter collision

<p><em><strong>Warning: This article contains images that some readers may find disturbing. </strong></em></p> <p>Four of the survivors of the deadly Gold Coast helicopter collision have released a series of photos that document the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. </p> <p>New Zealand couples Marle and Edward Swart, and Elmarie and Riaan Steenberg, were on board the descending helicopter that was struck by one just taking off. </p> <p>The ascending helicopter crashed to the ground, killing <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/helicopter-crash-victims-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">four people</a> on board and wounding three other passengers. </p> <p>On Sunday, the four New Zealand survivors issued a collective statement, sharing how they are still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. </p> <p>"We want to express our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the injured, deceased, and their families," they said.</p> <p>"Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss. This has been traumatic for us as survivors, and we cannot imagine the terrible sadness their families and loved ones must be feeling."</p> <p>The couples also offered their gratitude to those who helped them, including their "hero" pilot Michael James, bystanders who rushed to their aid and emergency and medical personnel who helped them.</p> <p>"Their care and heroism changed our lives," the statement said.</p> <p>"Our pilot, Michael James. You are our hero. You landed the helicopter safely and kept the bystanders and us safe. We are eternally grateful to you."</p> <div>"Unidentified bystanders who ran to our assistance. The person on the jet ski who was first on the scene and helped us out of the helicopter, the off-duty paramedic who ran to our assistance, the holidaymakers who brought us hats, towels and water, and chairs."</p> <p>"Every police officer and emergency services personnel both on the scene of the crash and later in the hospital. The staff of Villas de la Mer who helped our children to visit us and kept them safe. There are no words to describe our gratitude."</p> <p>"Every staff member involved in our care at Robina Public Hospital. Your discretion and compassionate care during our stay brought us much comfort. We will always remember your kindness."</p> <p>"Our community in New Zealand for all their well wishes and messages of comfort.</p> <p>"Our dear family and friends in Australia who have supported us over this period. We appreciate you so very much."</p> <p>"Craig and the staff of Sea World Helicopters for their support. We also want to express our deep condolences for the loss of pilot Ashley Jenkinson."</p> <p>"The reality of the last five days' events is sinking in and is a heavy weight to carry," they said.</p> <p>The four survivors also shared a series of images of their recovery in the hospital, as well as a photo snapped from inside the wreckage of the helicopter. </p> <p>The four said they would continue to help the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Queensland Police with their investigation into the incident as needed.</p> <p>They are headed home to New Zealand, where Elmarie and Marle will continue their lengthy recovery.</p> <p><em>Image credits: The Swart and Steenberg families</em></p> </div>

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Young helicopter crash survivor wakes from coma

<p>There has been a glimmer of hope in the aftermath of the devastating Gold Coast helicopter tragedy. </p> <p>Nine-year-old Leon de Silva, who boarded the joyride with his mother Winnie, has woken up from a medically induced coma. </p> <p>He woke up on Thursday evening, moving from a critical condition to stable condition at Queensland Children's Hospital.</p> <p>Leon's stepfather Neil confirmed he is now in a stable condition, and remaining under observation. </p> <p>“We’re just focusing on their recovery now,” he told <em>The Herald Sun</em>. </p> <p>Leon was placed into an induced coma about 70 kilometres north at Brisbane Children's Hospital after suffering a cracked skull and severe trauma to the brain.</p> <p>His mother Winnie remains at the Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition after breaking both her legs, damaging her left knee, breaking her right shoulder and collarbone.</p> <p>Earlier on Thursday, Leon's stepfather Neil told <em>Sunrise</em> his wife is still "fighting" but her main priority was her son.</p> <p>"The main issue is the extensive injuries that he has. He’s lying in bed at the moment. He is still laying with his eyes closed and not able to talk or communicate at this stage," Mr de Silva said.</p> <p>He revealed his sister Julie has been by his stepson's bedside since the accident, and connected Ms de Silva with her son through FaceTime on Wednesday.</p> <p>"As she was saying, ‘mum’s here and mum’s going to look after you and everything’s going to be alright’, he actually managed to give her a thumbs up," Mr de Silva added.</p> <p>"It wasn’t a full thumbs up, he could only lift it halfway but that was fantastic news."</p> <p><em>Image credits: GoFundMe</em></p>

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"Mateship in action": NZ survivors of helicopter crash praise Aussie compassion

<p>Two couples from New Zealand who survived the deadly helicopter collision on the Gold Coast have shared their condolences for those who died during the accident.</p> <p>Edward and Marle Swart along with Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg spoke of how the "fun five-minute joy ride on vacation to Australia turned into a nightmare" and said their "hearts are so heavy" for those who died in the other aircraft that fell to the ground.</p> <p>"Our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the injured and the deceased and their families," they said in a joint statement released on Wednesday night.</p> <p>"We are grateful and blessed to have been spared but very sad for the people who lost loved ones and the little ones and mum fighting for their lives in hospital.</p> <p>"Our hearts are so heavy for them."</p> <p>The couples also praised the 52-year-old pilot who managed to land their damaged helicopter safely "through all the chaos", while also commending the actions of witnesses who rushed to help on the scene. </p> <p>"Our gratitude goes out to every bystander who ran to help, every police officer and emergency services personnel who helped us with our immediate needs keeping us calm and making us comfortable," they said.</p> <p>"We saw mateship in action. Australians come together to help in time of need."</p> <p>"We would like to extend our great thanks to the hospital staff taking care of us for their kindness and compassion during this traumatic experience."</p> <p>The New Zealand couples, all in their 40s, were among the six people in the second helicopter who all survived the crash with minor injuries.</p> <p><a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/helicopter-crash-victims-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Four people</a> on the first helicopter died while the remaining three survivors remain in hospital.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

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Plane crash survivors take “selfie of the year”

<p dir="ltr">Survivors of a crash between an airplane and a firetruck have caused outrage after taking a selfie.</p> <p dir="ltr">Two passengers, still covered in firefighting foam, smiled for the camera and shared the snap online with the caption: “When life gives you a second chance #latam”.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-702b43e8-7fff-a65b-efe6-63b406b369b0"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">While the plane’s crew and passengers all survived, what they didn’t know was that two of the firefighters in the truck that collided with the plane at Peru’s Jorge Chavez International Airport had died.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="es">Cuando la vida te da una segunda oportunidad <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/latam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#latam</a> <a href="https://t.co/Vd98Zu98Uo">pic.twitter.com/Vd98Zu98Uo</a></p> <p>— Enrique Varsi-Rospigliosi (@enriquevarsi) <a href="https://twitter.com/enriquevarsi/status/1593710356916051970?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 18, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">In light of this, the passengers sparked outrage online for smiling in the wake of the tragedy.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve seen it all now. Crash selfie. End of the internet,” one person tweeted.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Nothing to be proud of, firefighters died,” another wrote in a popular aviation group on Facebook.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Two firefighters die but sure, take a selfie and laugh,” a third commented.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a00f0788-7fff-4c81-44ae-b2fc0da02191"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Others shared memes criticising the photo, with one Twitter user sharing a photo of a woman posing in front of a wildfire and the caption, “Same vibes!”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="es">Cuando te convertis en un meme de 9gag <a href="https://t.co/br7L8fdXIG">pic.twitter.com/br7L8fdXIG</a></p> <p>— 𝕸𝖆𝖚𝖗𝖔 𝕳. 𝕷. (@mxmauro) <a href="https://twitter.com/mxmauro/status/1593936036819865600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 19, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">SAME VIBES! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LATAM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LATAM</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/latamperu?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#latamperu</a> <a href="https://t.co/lssuNyI3uv">https://t.co/lssuNyI3uv</a> <a href="https://t.co/8beWSTPWJn">pic.twitter.com/8beWSTPWJn</a></p> <p>— Alderson (@0Dweller) <a href="https://twitter.com/0Dweller/status/1593739808102227968?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 18, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">But, some came to the defence of the passengers, noting that they would also be happy if they had walked away from a crash unscathed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I mean it is selfie of the year … they walked away from that,” one wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I get it, they are happy they are alive,” another said. “People are just taking it the wrong way and getting offended for anything these days.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Think about it, you realised you’ve just survived an aeroplane crash, then suddenly it catches fire, and on top of it you are able to walk away from it unscratched? I’d be the happiest and most thankful person alive!”</p> <p dir="ltr">A third noted that at the time very few people would have known there had been fatalities resulting from the crash, particularly if they were on the plane.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In the moment they took the picture, only a few people knew that two firefighters had died. They thought it was a problem with the aeroplane,” they explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Media took, at least, an hour and a half to report what really happened. Even firefighters from Lima didn’t know for the first hour. They just felt thankful for being alive.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It also seems that the critics are in the minority, with the original post receiving more than 200,000 likes since it was posted on November 19, a day after the crash.</p> <p dir="ltr">None of the 102 passengers or crew on-board the LATAM Airbus 280 at the time lost their lives in the incident, the cause of which is currently being investigated according to Jorge Chavez International Airport.</p> <p dir="ltr">Footage taken by witnesses showed the plane taking off from the runway at full speed before colliding with the truck, also travelling at speed.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-7ce1be6b-7fff-6c54-db6b-98478293a3c0"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">With damaged landing gear, the plane continued moving forward with its right side dragging along the runway and sending up a trail of sparks.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="es">Todos los videos que me han llegado del accidente en el aeropuerto Jorge Chavez.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Latam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Latam</a> <a href="https://t.co/uS2d82ls7S">pic.twitter.com/uS2d82ls7S</a></p> <p>— 2023 VUELVO (@himselfsv) <a href="https://twitter.com/himselfsv/status/1593722983943528448?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 18, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">When it stopped, the rear of the plane was badly burned and a cloud of smoke escaped the aircraft.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to security official Aurelio Orellana, a rescuer in the truck was also injured during the incident and is “in critical condition due to head trauma”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Manuel van Oordt, the general manager of LATAM Peru, said he was surprised the firefighters were on the runway to begin with, given that the plane’s pilot hadn’t reported any anomalies.</p> <p dir="ltr">“No emergency was reported in the flight, it was a flight that was in optimal conditions to take off, he had permission to take off, and he found a truck on the runway and we do not know what this truck was doing there,” he said at a press conference.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-19377d4c-7fff-891d-9c63-a8e5c8ccdc6c"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

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Train driving dream comes true for brain tumour survivor

<p dir="ltr">Three years after doctors found a large tumour growing in his brain, seven-year-old Broly Blackmore has seen his dream of becoming a train driver come true.</p> <p dir="ltr">The young boy from Hallett, South Australia, had the tumour removed when he was just four years old after he collapsed and was rushed to hospital by helicopter.</p> <p dir="ltr">If it wasn’t removed that night, doctors told his mother, Corrine Maidment, that he wouldn’t make it.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the years since, Broly’s life has become relatively normal, albeit with regular brain scans and physio trips - and he has had his wish of driving a train granted by the Starlight Foundation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The seven-year-old went on a trip on the Pichi Richi steam train, travelling from Quorn to Port Augusta as a “trainee train driver”.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Ever since he was only a couple of months old everything has always been about trains … diesels aren't as good as steam trains apparently," Ms Maidment said, adding that he barely slept the night before the big day.</p> <p dir="ltr">"According to everyone in the train, they weren't allowed to do anything without his say so … at one point, he told the fireman, the guy who does the coal, 'That's my seat. I need to sit there'.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was boss for the day." </p> <p dir="ltr">The Pichi Richi railway, an outback steam train experience that has been operating since 1973, later shared a sweet photo of Broly on the train.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Last Sunday, Pichi Richi Railway was able to grant a wish for a very special visitor, 7 year old Broly who was having his wish granted with help from Starlight Children's Foundation Australia’s ‘Wishgranting Program’,” the railway <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PichiRichiRailway/posts/pfbid032C45MeP339xWYPL321ZTFjXXsehYJh7pWe2xkX812DkCLCBZgZyp8UVNGVzF7ztvl">wrote</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Broly loves trains so Starlight contacted Pichi Richi Railway and Broly was lucky enough to ride in the cab of engine W934 for the day with our crew on the Pichi Richi Explorer service. </p> <p dir="ltr">“A very special day for our crew, Broly and his family.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Although Broly’s wish was given to him while he was in hospital, Ms Maidment said they had waited until he was old enough to decide how he wanted to spend it.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He's had the wish sitting there since he was in the hospital ... but we wanted to wait until he was old enough to make a decision himself so he'd know what the wish was and he'd remember it," she said. </p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4354a857-7fff-0466-bb9f-4dd255b3ba47"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Blackmore family, Starlight Foundation, Pichi Richi Railway (Facebook)</em></p>

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Aussie survivors reflect on the Bali bombings 20 years on

<p>On October 12th 2002, three bombs were detonated in two Bali hotspots which resulted in the death of 202 people, 88 of whom were Australian.</p> <p>It was the single largest loss of Australian life due to an act of terror.</p> <p>Now, 20 years on from the tragedy, survivors told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/bali-bombings-20-year-anniversary-survivors-rescuers-victims-stories/8f6a1661-e377-4ce9-aa17-204d67ca065c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a> their inspirational yet harrowing stories of survival, and how their lives have changed since since that fateful day two decades ago. </p> <p><strong>Therese</strong></p> <p>After suffering devastating burns to 85 percent of her body, Therese Fox has fought valiantly through hundreds of skin grafts, life-threatening infections and agonising physiotherapy.</p> <p>Therese spent a year in hospital and defied doctor's expectations to survive, only to be confronted with the reality of survivor's guilt. </p> <p>Two decades on, she is still haunted by the loss of her good friend Bronwyn Cartwright and dozens of others.</p> <p>"I could go through my burns a hundred times over. The guilt of survival is the hardest thing to live with," Fox said, before breaking down in the face of the overwhelming emotion of her first return to Bali.</p> <p><strong>Ashleigh</strong></p> <p>When Ashleigh Airlie was just 14-years-old, she was faced with the trauma of losing her mother Gayle, who was killed in the terror attack. </p> <p>Four other mothers were holidaying in Bali with their teenage daughters, who were in the back of the Sari Club when the second bomb went off. </p> <p>It was just two days before Ashleigh's 15th birthday when she was buried under the collapsing roof and leaving her grasping for strangers' legs to make it out to the street.</p> <p>"When I think about it, that's the last place I had a good time with my mum," Ashleigh, now 34, told 9News.</p> <p>"It was the last place we had fun and she was having the time of her life."</p> <p><strong>Peter</strong></p> <p>When Peter Hughes was interviewed from his hospital bed, he unknowingly became the Australian face of the Bali bombing tragedy, which left him feeling "a little bit embarrassed about it all".</p> <p>"I was dying at the time and I knew that," he said, describing the interview as a chance to show his son Leigh that he was ok, even though he knew he wasn't.</p> <p>"I was just hanging on back then."</p> <p>While appearing on TV, Peter was swollen and barely able to breathe, but seemed unconcerned about his injuries. </p> <p>He slipped into a coma days later with burns to more than half his body. </p> <p>Now, he still struggled with the physical and mental effects of surviving the attack, but that doesn't stop him from returning to Bali several times a year. </p> <p><strong>Andrew</strong></p> <p>While Andrew Csabi was laying in the street dying outside the smoking ruins of the Sari Club, he gave himself the last rites. </p> <p>"I looked down, I said, 'my leg's blown off' and I couldn't believe it," he said.</p> <p>"I laid there quietly and I issued myself last rights."</p> <p><strong>Natalie and Nicole</strong></p> <p>Nicole McLean and Natalie Goold were just 23 when the bombs went off in Bali. </p> <p>After Nicole lost her right arm and suffered horrific leg injuries in the attack, Natalie fought to save the life of her friend in an act that saw her <span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant-caps: inherit; caret-color: #333333; color: #333333;">became one of only four people awarded the Star of Courage medal in the </span>Bali honours list.</p> <p>"She was just a force to be reckoned with. She knew where we had to go, where we had to be, and she wasn't leaving my side," McLean said.</p> <p>"She was ripping people's t-shirts off them and shoving them in my leg to stop the blood."</p> <p>Nicole McLean had survived the horror of the Sari Club and made it onto an RAAF jet that could get her back to Australia within hours.</p> <p><em>Image credits: 9News</em></p>

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New study to “give hope” to childhood trauma survivors with depression

<p dir="ltr">A new study has challenged our understanding of how to treat adults with a history of childhood trauma, revealing that using psychotherapy, medication or a combination of the two are effective treatments for those with depression.</p> <p dir="ltr">Childhood trauma, defined as abuse or neglect of a person before they are 18 years old, is a known risk factor for major depressive disorders in adulthood. It often results in symptoms that start earlier, last longer and are more frequent, and increases the risk of developing co-occurring diseases and conditions.</p> <p dir="ltr">The study, published in <em><a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(22)00227-9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Lancet Psychiatry</a></em>, found that adult survivors of childhood trauma who receive these common treatments experience improved symptoms at the same rate as those without childhood trauma.</p> <p dir="ltr">While previous studies have indicated that common treatments for major depressive disorders are less effective for people with childhood trauma, the team argues that these findings are inconsistent.</p> <p dir="ltr">The team then examined data from 29 clinical trials of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy (the use of prescribed medications) among adults with major depressive disorders to determine whether those with trauma were more severely depressed before treatment, had more unfavourable outcomes after treatment, and whether they were less likely to benefit from treatment in comparison to those without trauma.</p> <p dir="ltr">Among the 46 percent of participants with childhood trauma, the team found that they showed more severe symptoms at the start of treatment and after treatment in comparison to the control group (those without trauma).</p> <p dir="ltr">But, they found that both groups experienced an improvement in symptoms at a similar rate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Erika Kuzminskaite, a PhD candidate and the first author of the study, said that this finding could be a source of hope.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Finding that patients with depression and childhood trauma experience similar treatment outcome when compared to patients without trauma can give hope to people who have experienced childhood trauma,” Kuzminskaite said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Nevertheless, residual symptoms following treatment in patients with childhood trauma warrant more clinical attention as additional interventions may still be needed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Antoine Yrondi, a professor at the University of Toulouse who wasn’t involved in the research, wrote that the study provides a message of hope for patients.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This meta-analysis could deliver a hopeful message to patients with childhood trauma that evidence-based psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy could improve depressive symptoms,” Dr Yrondi said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“However, physicians should keep in mind that childhood trauma could be associated with clinical features which may make it more difficult to reach complete symptomatic remission and, therefore, have an impact on daily functioning.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <a href="https://blueknot.org.au/resources/blue-knot-fact-sheets/trauma-classification/what-is-childhood-trauma/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Blue Knot</a>, childhood trauma can have a wider and more extreme impact than trauma we experience as adults because a child’s brain is still developing. If the trauma is unresolved, coping strategies developed during childhood can become risk factors for poorer psychological and physical health in adulthood.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, it is possible to recover from childhood trauma, with this latest study going to show that common treatments can be effective.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>If you’re in need of support, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Blue Knot on 1300 657 380.</em></p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-62551377-7fff-7a7f-9e23-d352d2c29923"></span></em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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