Chopper victims were former Queensland cops

THREE best mates killed in a helicopter crash off the coast of New South Wales were former Queensland police officers and have been remembered as "absolute champion blokes".

The former detectives were with a Sydney couple on board a refurbished ex-military 1966 Bell UH1 chopper when it crashed into rough seas off Port Broughton.

Pilot and owner of Brisbane Helicopters David Kerr and his close friends Jamie Ogden and Grant Kuhnemann all served in the Queensland police service in the 1990s.

They were on their way to spend a weekend in Sydney, flying with Sydney couple Jocelyn Villanueva and Gregory Miller, when the helicopter disappeared on Friday afternoon.

Water police vessel
Water police vessel "Intrepid" heads out from Nelson Bay to rejoin the search for five people feared dead after a helicopter crashed into waters off Anna Bay on the NSW coast, Newcastle, Monday, September 9, 2019. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)

The wreckage was spotted south of Fingal Bay by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter the following day.

Blue Hope, a support service for police, paid tribute to the three former officers today.

"We'd like to take a moment to pay tribute to three former QPS members who have been confirmed as being aboard the vintage helicopter that disappeared into the ocean off Anna Bay near Newcastle last Friday night," a post on the organisations Facebook page says.

"Jamie will be especially remembered as a tremendous rugby league player, part of arguably the best regional police team to ever compete in a QPS carnival, in addition to being an Australian Tertiary Representative.

Jamie Ogden was on board a helicopter that crashed into the sea off the NSW coast.
Jamie Ogden was on board a helicopter that crashed into the sea off the NSW coast.

"Three absolute champion blokes. Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and families."

It is understood it was Mr Kerr's last flight in the refurbished chopper, which he was flying to Bankstown Airport to deliver to its new owners.

The helicopter had been used by the Argentinian and US militaries.

The last known communication with the experienced pilot was when he requested to fly at a higher altitude because of strong tail winds.

There was no mayday call. The search for the pilot and four passengers continues today.

The coastline at Anna Bay where the search continues for five people feared dead after a helicopter crashed into waters off Anna Bay on the NSW coast, Newcastle, Monday, September 9, 2019. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)
The coastline at Anna Bay where the search continues for five people feared dead after a helicopter crashed into waters off Anna Bay on the NSW coast, Newcastle, Monday, September 9, 2019. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)


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