Bride and Wedding Photographer Faint as Helicopter Plummets to Ground, Moments After Engine Failure

A New Zealand newlywed couple's joyful wedding-day helicopter ride turned into devastation after it crashed suddenly, injuring four.

According to, wedding photographer Rachel Jordan boarded the aircraft along with bride Fay El Hanafy and groom Mahdi Zougub around 3 p.m. on Saturday. In an uncanny premonition, Jordan—who the news outlet reported is afraid of flying—even asked the pilot before taking off: "We're not going to crash, are we?"

Soon after, the helicopter's engine shut off in mid-air, for reasons still unknown. As the aircraft began its descent, both Jordan and El Hanafy reportedly passed out. The helicopter crashed at the Terrace Downs Golf Resort, in a rural part of the country's Canterbury region, where three out of four were said to have sustained serious injuries. All four were taken to nearby Christchurch Hospital.

Rachel Jordan's husband, Eric Jordan, told everything appeared normal to her at takeoff. Then, "the engine just seemed to shut off," he recounted her saying. According to some witnesses, the aircraft appeared to lose power—but it's too early to say with any certainty, clarified the news outlet.

"When it first happened...and the helicopter began to fall, the bride fainted...and Rachel passed out at some point as well," Eric Jordan explained. Alarmingly, he added, "She remembers the bride screaming quite a bit after she came to consciousness and the groom was awake during the crash and was conscious, so he felt all the pain as they hit the ground."

Now, he says, Jordan is "totally immobilized" and will probably spend at least three months recovering in the hospital. According to, she sustained "spinal fractures, five fractured ribs, cuts to the lungs, a fractured sternum, a broken arm and fractured feet."

Meanwhile, the newlyweds also suffered significant injuries following the crash. The New Zealand Herald reported that El Hanafy's back, foot, and legs had broken in the accident, and Zougub suffered a broken back as well. Both required surgeries to treat their wounds.

The crash comes as the latest tragedy to affect the couple's nuptials: their wedding was first postponed after the horrific 2019 terror attack on two Christchurch mosques. While neither were at the mosque at the time of the attack, they both lost close friends, says The Herald.

The couple's rescheduled wedding was then postponed once again—this time, in 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Those close to the couple have come together in support of the newlyweds, in hopes of giving them a "wedding 2.0" once they recover. An online fundraiser has been set up to cover the expenses, which, at the time of writing, has raised NZD $9,645 and counting.

Helicopter in Sky
A U.S. army helicopter flying over Kuwait, 2011. Joe Raedle/Getty Images