Model talks about powerboat photo shoot tragedy
September 13, 2007
A photographic model has spoken about the moment a helicopter crashed into the sea killing two of its occupants, a photographer and videographer, during a low-level shoot for a speedboat magazine.
The accident happened in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, killing 50-year-old Thomas William Newby, chief photographer for US-based Powerboat Magazine.
The magazine confirmed that Newby worked as a freelance photographer and has covered powerboat Performance Trials shoots for the magazine for more than 12 years.
Part-time model Jennifer Zuknick, who was on the boat being photographed, told Fox Television news: ?As soon as the helicopter hit the water, I closed my eyes and thought ?here it comes? ? you think you are going to get hit by something.?
She added: ?The helicopter was in front of us taking close-up pictures and the front leg of the helicopter hit the water ? and immediately all we saw was a wall of water.?
The helicopter crash forced the boat out of control.
Zuknick and the boat?s driver jumped into the water to help the three men in the aircraft but Newby and videographer Mark Copeland, 44, of North Carolina were pronounced dead after rescuers brought the men back to shore.
The helicopter pilot was reported to be in a serious condition.
It is not yet clear what caused the helicopter to crash.
The publisher of Powerboat Magazine, which is based in California, said in a statement: ‘We are saddened by this incident… Our sincerest condolences go out to the families and friends of the two fatalities and injured.’
This is the first such accident in the 39-year history of the magazine.
The incident occurred about six miles northeast of Venice in the Gulf of Mexico.
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