Father-of-three fifth person killed in Victoria helicopter crash
A Sydney father-of-three and financial executive has been identified as the fifth person killed in a helicopter crash in rural Victoria.
First AG Capital co-founder and managing director Nicholas Vasudeva, from Sydney’s eastern suburbs, was one of five people on board the flight that crashed into Mt Disappointment, north of Melbourne, on Thursday.
The company this afternoon released a statement paying tribute to the “true gentleman”.
“Nicholas was an inspiring individual, with a storied career in both Australia and the United Kingdom at a number of Law Firms and Financial Institutions,” the statement reads.
“His ability to identify the real issues and clearly articulate them was uncanny.
“He was a true gentleman with a great sense of humour who was well loved by all his colleagues, associates and family and will be missed dearly.
“Our most heartfelt condolences to his wife, and three children, extended family and friends as well as the families of the four people who lost their lives.”
Police earlier stated the fifth victim was a 70-year-old man from Bellevue Hill.
“We have since been advised the man was actually 53,” Victoria Police said in a statement today.
Two employees of a Melbourne based virtual marketplace were earlier identified as having also been on the flight that crashed.
AXIchain finance consultant Ian Perry and AXIchain chief executive and founder Linda Woodford, 50, was also aboard the helicopter
AXIchain has said Mr Perry was “a respected member of the agricultural industry and a committed family man”.
Ms Woodford’s brother told 9News the family is distraught and they have “never felt emotional pain like this”.
He said she was “transforming the entire meat industry process”.
9News understands Microflite, the charter company that owned and operated the helicopter, is working to put a tribute together for the people who died in the crash.
Pilot’s focus was the wellbeing and safety of passengers
Yesterday, 32-year-old Dean Neal was identified as the pilot of the Microflite helicopter.
His family said the wellbeing and safety of his passengers was always his highest priority.
“Dean has always been the most conscientious of professional pilots and always put the safety and wellbeing of his passengers in the highest of his priorities during his many years of professional service,” the family said.
“Our broken hearts go to the families and friends of those who were flying with him.”
“Your unspeakable loss is understood by us all.”
Passenger was on ‘last job’ before retirement
Earlier, a leader in the meat industry who was on his “last job” before retirement was identified as being among the crash victims.
Paul Troja, 73, was among the five people who died when a chartered helicopter crashed on Mt Disappointment yesterday.
Mr Troja’s son revealed to 9News his father was on the flight to set his family up financially before shifting his focus to his loved ones and home life.
“He wanted to spend more time with the family, but he wanted to do one last job to get a bit more money behind him, so he could help us out,” Luke Troja said.
“This was going to be it, and he was going to give it away.”
Investigation into crash underway
Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will hand down a preliminary report on the cause of the crash in six to eight weeks.
Investigators are focusing on the weather conditions on the day of the crash, both low lying cloud and smoke haze were prevalent around the Mt Disappointment area on the day of the crash.
Experts said it’s possible these conditions could be to blame for the crash.
The helicopter was one of two travelling north in convoy from Melbourne’s CBD over when it disappeared just after 9.30am, according to Victoria Police.
Both Microflite Helicopter Services aircraft took off from the banks of the Yarra River in Melbourne CBD near Crown just before 8am on Thursday.
The wreckage was found near Blair’s Hut at about 11.45am.
The second helicopter landed without incident at Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne’s south-east, after raising the alarm.
Microflite Helicopter Services’ executive general manager Rodney Higgins said the private charter flight that crashed was being flown by a highly respected pilot.
Police said the cause of the crash was still unknown.
Microflite has grounded all its flights until Tuesday.