Watch: Helicopter crashes at Fiji resort, seven on board escape
One of the survivors of Wednesday's helicopter crash on Treasure Island has described the ordeal as "violent".
Aaron Toresen was with his wife Nicky and daughters Suzy, 6, and Heidi, 9, when the helicopter they were on lost control. Along with an Australian couple and the pilot, the family escaped the carnage unscathed.
Speaking to The New Zealand Herald, Toresen said the pilot warned them they could be in for a some gusts of wind when they landed.
"The pilot commented as we were coming in there were some pretty strong gusts of wind and some of the people here at the resort said they'd noticed a couple of big gusts just as we landed," he said.
"When we touched down, a big gust knocked the chopper up. The pilot - I don't know whether he had a choice or not frankly - he went full throttle. He absolutely gunned it."
The chopper hurtled out of control, only coming to a halt after it hit a tree beside the seaside swimming pool
"It was pretty dramatic stuff. When we went through a palm tree we chopped the top off completely."
Toresen said the impact on landing was intense, as the blades smashed their way through whatever was in their way.
"When we hit, the impact was pretty hard, as you can imagine. But then the engines were still running and the blades were smashing into the ground.
"We could hear the helicopter trying to tear itself apart," he said.
"It was just so violent."
While the chopper hurtled out of control, Toresen said he held tight to his little girl.
"It was horrific. The thing is, as it was going through all those trees, it lurched up. You could see there's no way [the pilot] could control it. You've got no idea how it's all going to end.
"You've got two little kids and all you're thinking about is, is there anything you can to protect them," he said.
Despite the ordeal, the family decided to stick with their tropical holiday.
"We feel quite grateful. It's the best Christmas present you can have. Your kids walk out of something like that alive and besides cuts and bruises, pretty well uninjured.
"We're just enormously grateful, for us as passengers and also for the people around the poolside."
Treasure Island general manager Robert Wade said things had returned to normal after yesterday's events.
The Australian couple were flown off the Island yesterday evening as a precautionary measure.
"They have been around the resort enjoying their day. They are quite comfortable, there was no major injuries which is great," he said.
Wade said following the dramatic descent of the chopper, staff and guests rushed to help those on board.
"The staff reacted very very well. The guests around the area wanted to assist. In less than five minutes everyone was out of the helicopter. The pilot turned the battery off, and the fuel line. There was no danger of a spark."
"The nurse on the Island took care of the minor cuts and bruises and checked for concussion. Everyone is fine," he said.
Holidaymakers watched in horror as the helicopter came crashing to the ground right in front of them at the resort.
Video from Treasure Island shows the Island Hoppers chopper apparently getting hit by a strong gust of wind as it came in to land.
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Emily-Jane Thompson's, Mr Toresen sister, posted on Facebook: "Flippin' Christmas miracle right here...my brother, his beautiful wife and daughters all safe after this horrific ordeal".
Australian Bob Carroll was eating with his family just 50 metres away when the Eurocopter AS350 smashed into a tree before the craft hit another tree, crashing next to a pool.
"Holy s***!! Bizarreo and freaky and scary but thank God all got out of the chopper and we are all OK," Carroll said on Facebook.
Carroll was on a day trip to Treasure Island, just to the west of the main Fiji island.
"I can feel another Fiji Bitter coming on," Carroll declared.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) declared the incident an accident, which happened after the helicopter was caught by a strong gust of wind.
The Attorney General and Minister for Civil Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, appointed Captain Norman Walding to be the Accident Investigator, which is regular procedure in such cases.