A Tribute to Ash Jenkinson
By John Orr-Campbell, director and owner of Sea World Helicopters
The tragic helicopter accident on the Southport Broadwater on 2 January 2023 has impacted many people, and we pay tribute to those that lost their lives. We also acknowledge the suffering of those that were injured.
Ash Jenkinson, an experienced pilot, who lost his life in the accident was well known to many of us. I knew Ash personally for nine years. He was a fine man and a standout pilot with 6,210 hours of flying to his name.
To lose a man and a pilot of Ash’s calibre is shocking in every sense of the word. I, along with all the staff at Sea World Helicopters are gutted to the core. My heart aches as I think of Ash’s fiancée Kosha and his one-year-old son Kayden.
We also mourn the loss of his passengers and cannot imagine the terrible sadness their families and loved ones must be feeling. We have and continue to reach out directly to offer our deepest condolences, support and counselling to the families and passengers of both aircraft.
I would also like to commend the other pilot, Michael James, who heroically got the second aircraft to the ground safely. We wish him well in his recovery.
Ash performed his first flight in May 2007 and obtained his Commercial Pilots License in June 2008. His love for flying took him to the Northern Territory where he ran scenic flights until the end of September 2011.
His professional, bright, warm and welcoming personality saw him rise through the ranks and he became the Northern Territory Base Manager. Here he mentored several upcoming pilots, and he also spent many hours flying traditional owners to survey the land.
During this time Ash showed his love and commitment to community – he was involved in multiple search and rescue flights in the area. This community mindedness saw him dedicate over 700 hours and many days away from family and friends assisting in firefighting operations across Australia.
In December 2011 Ash became a Grade 1 Instructor conducting over 2,500 hours instructing. Ash has trained hundreds of today’s commercial helicopter pilots.
In 2019 Ash became Chief Pilot of Sea World Helicopters overseeing all aspects of safety and flight operations. We have lost a first-class pilot, a first-class man and a wonderful father, partner and friend.
RIP Ash, you will forever be in our hearts.