Brave Child Survivor Bonds with Panthers Coach after Tragic Accident


An emotional interaction between an 11-year-old boy named Nicholas “Nicky” Tadros and Panthers football coach Ivan Cleary has swept across the sports community, capturing hearts far and wide. Nicky, the lone survivor of a tragic helicopter collision, which claimed four lives, including that of his mother, back in January, spent time with Coach Cleary on Sunday during the Grand Final.

The deadly accident at Sea World on Gold Coast left Nicky with broken bones, resulting in the amputation of one of his legs. His journey back to health is expected to be a long and arduous one, spanning over a decade. Yet, his unwavering spirit completely manifested after witnessing his favourite team’s triumphant win on Sunday.

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The poignant moment was immortalised in a video where Nicky was seen expressing his gratitude to Coach Cleary with the heartwarming words, “Thank you”, in the dressing room. This candid exchange witnessed the visibly moved coach pull the brave young man into an affectionate embrace, during a chat with Nicky’s father.

Overwhelmed, Cleary shared how Nicky’s ordeal and his resilient spirit have made him a cherished member of the Panthers community. He emphasised his dream of making Panthers a beacon of community pride, creating positivity, and bringing a smile to people’s faces. Cleary pledged to hold this mission close to their hearts.

In the aftermath of the devastating Sea World accident, which involved two helicopters and multiple fatalities, including Nicky’s mom, Vanessa Tadros, various investigations were launched by Australian authorities along with proposals for improvements in aviation safety. However, in this trying time full of relentless adjustments, Nicky found solace and inspiration in his passion.

Keeping his spirits high through his physical and emotional healing, Nicky achieved a dream – earning a black belt in karate. Additionally, he found comfort through his beloved Panthers and forged a bond with the team’s player, Jarome Luai. Luai, who labels Nicky as an inspiration, visited him in the hospital and their reunion on Sunday night carved out another heartening moment.

Sporting Luai’s Premiership ring on his finger, a moment shared jovially between the two, Nicky once again captured everybody’s attention. Nicky’s father expressed his gratitude towards Luai, highlighting his kindness and willingness to comfort and support his son. In the adversities, Nicky’s journey is indeed a tale of resilience, heart, and the beautiful bond that sports can foster.