Helicopters collide over Australian beach 4 passengers die ABC

Helicopters collide over Australian beach, 4 passengers die

MELBOURNE, Australia – Two helicopters collided at an Australian tourist hotspot on Monday afternoon, killing four passengers and seriously injuring three others in a crash that brought emergency relief to beachgoers enjoying the waters in the southern summer.

One helicopter appeared to have taken off and the other landed when they collided near Sea World theme park in Main Beach, a northern beach on the Gold Coast, Queensland State Police Acting Inspector Gary Worrell said at a news conference.

One helicopter landed safely on a sandbar but debris from the other was scattered over an area described by police as difficult to access.

The dead and the three seriously injured were all occupants of the crashed helicopter.

“Members of the public and police were trying to remove the people and they started administering first aid and trying to get these people to safety from an overturned airframe,” Worrell said.

“[People on]jet skis, family boaters, ordinary members of the public rushed out to help these people.”

The passengers of the other helicopter, which lost its windshield in the crash, are also receiving medical care.

Footage of the crash showed a helicopter shortly after takeoff being clipped by another helicopter flying over the water.

Sea World Helicopters, a separate company from the theme park, expressed its condolences and said it is working with authorities investigating the crash.

“We and the entire flying community are devastated by what has happened and our sincere condolences go out to everyone involved and especially the loved ones and family of the deceased,” the statement said.

The company did not confirm whether it operated either or both of the helicopters involved in the crash and said in the statement it would not comment further because of the investigation.

A witness named John told Melbourne radio station 3AW that guests at Sea World heard the crash.

He said theme park staff moved quickly to close the areas closest to the crash.

“There was a massive, massive bang,” he said. “It was just huge. I’m not sure if it was the propellers or whatever hitting each other. But there was this poor lady and her son in tears near the helipad.”

Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the accident was an “unthinkable tragedy”.

“My deepest sympathy goes out to all the families and everyone affected by this terrible accident,” she said.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said an investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing.

The Queensland Ambulance Service previously said 13 people were being checked for injuries.

The Gold Coast region is at its busiest in January, which is the peak holiday season in Australia’s summer.