Wedding Photographer Sues After Career-Ending Helicopter Crash

A photographer has filed a personal injury lawsuit after being seriously injured in a devastating helicopter crash to a wedding day photoshoot — which effectively ended her career.

Award-winning photographer Rachel Jordan, who specializes in remote photo shoots, was flying to a special location in a helicopter for a photoshoot with a newly-married couple moments after they exchanged vows on their wedding day on June 12, 2021.

Award-winning wedding photographer Rachel Jordan

Jordan and the newly-weds, Mahdi Zougub and Fay Elhanafy, were destined for a picturesque mountain spot in Canterbury, New Zealand to take pictures, with guests remaining behind ahead of the reception.

However, shortly after taking off, the Robinson Helicopter Company aircraft’s engine reportedly shut off in mid-air. Jordan and the bride passed out as the helicopter entered a rapid descent from a low altitude.

The aircraft plummeted and crashed onto a fairway at the Terrace Downs Golf Resort in rural Canterbury at 15:03.

All four people on board survived the crash but three, including Jordan and the newlyweds, were seriously injured and rushed by rescue helicopter to Christchurch Hospital.

The photographer was “left immobilized” and recovering in hospital for months after the crash. According to a Givealittle page set up for the photographer, Jordan suffered spinal fractures as well as five fractured ribs, lung laceration, a fractured sternum, a fractured arm, and fractured feet.

A Crash That Ended Her Career

According to EIN News, Jordan and the newly-weds have now filed a personal injury lawsuit against Robinson Helicopter Company and several aircraft parts manufacturers for the devastating crash.

According to a complaint filed on June 8, Jordan suffered serious and permanent physical and psychological injuries as a result of the crash.

The injuries suffered from the crash have essentially put an end to Jordan’s successful career as a top professional wedding photographer in Northland New Zealand. Jordan and her husband’s company, Two Little Starfish, had become a household name in the New Zealand wedding industry

Government crash data from the National Transportation Safety Board allegedly shows that Robinson helicopters have been involved in more than 1,650 incidents and accidents since 1983. Of those, 411 were fatal.

“Unfortunately, protecting profit margins is often more important to manufacturers than protecting the people that fly their aircraft,” Timothy A. Loranger, who represents Jordan and the newlyweds in this case, says.

“Robinson helicopters must do more to identify and resolve safety issues that all too often injure or take the lives of pilots and passengers.”

‘I Love Taking Photos’

Jordan previously said that she would have loved to photograph the couple’s anniversary/second wedding day and complete the photoshoot that never was.

“That is a completion for me. Getting to come back and photograph their day and do their photos in the mountains. That is like going full circle and completing what we started out to do,” Jordan tells RNZ in an interview in September 2021.

“I love taking photos and where there’s a will there’s a way like even if I’m in a wheelchair for many, many months to come I’ll still do photography.

“You know it’s not going to stop me doing what I love doing, but yeah, my goals are just to continue doing what I do.”

Image credits: All photos by Givealittle.