A WA mother says she is no closer to overcoming the grief caused by a Broome chopper crash that killed her daughter three years ago.
Mandurah girl Amber Jess Millar, 12, was a passenger in a Robinson R44 that had taken off for a scenic flight of the Kimberley but broke up in mid-air and plummeted to the ground on July 4, 2020.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Grieving Mandurah family demand inquest into Broome helicopter crash.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
Local pilot and tourism operator Troy Thomas was also killed, while the crash left two others seriously injured.
Amber’s mother, Fiona Benbow, watched the aircraft take off and then crash just moments later.
“I revisit the scene a lot,” she told 7NEWS.
Family of young girl killed in horror double-fatal chopper crash will ‘never be the same’
Husband and wife killed in mid-air plane crash near Brisbane
“It wakes me up a lot.”
With the help of bystanders, she tried to save Amber’s life and help other passengers, but her girl’s injuries were too severe.
A report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found Thomas’s “high-risk appetite” may have contributed to his decision to fly despite failing to identify the source of unusual mechanical vibrations.
Amber Jess Millar died when the helicopter she was set to take a scenic tour in crashed moments after take off. Credit: 7NEWSAmber’s mother Fiona Benbow has called for an inquest into the helicopter tragedy. Credit: 7NEWS
The findings suggested Thomas had a history of deliberately taking risks — such as flying with too many passengers and flying low without required qualifications — and also revealed he was not legally allowed to fly because he did not hold a valid aviation medical certificate.
They are findings Amber’s family labelled “disturbing” and confirmed that her death was “totally preventable”.
They said they would not have let her fly had they known all the facts.
“100 per cent no way. No way. My rights as Amber’s mother were absolutely stripped away from me that day,” Benbow said.
Troy Thomas, 40, was the pilot on the doomed chopper flight. Credit: 7NEWSA scathing report found Thomas had a ‘high-risk appetite’. Credit: 7NEWS
Pilots had previously reported vibrations in the helicopter’s tail rotor pedals, but no one officially reported the issue.
The ATSB report found the tail rotor gearbox became over-stressed and separated from the body of the chopper shortly after takeoff.
Amber’s grieving parents have demanded an inquest into the incident, and called for a crackdown on rogue pilots they fear are still free to operate in WA’s north.
Amber’s family has called for a crackdown on rogue pilots. Credit: 7NEWS
On Wednesday, WA Premier Roger Cook added his voice to that argument, saying “they deserve answers from (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority), they deserve answers as to why their daughter was to be put in danger”.
In the wake of the Broome crash, CASA said passengers should check if pilots are properly qualified.
On Wednesday it repeated that “our oversight of private flights is limited”.
A spokesperson says there is regular surveillance and audits of commercial operators.
– With reporting from Jessica Page
Surfer ‘punched great white’ during wild shark attack
Charges laid over alleged wine bottle attack on gamer at Timezone
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.