Australia helicopter crash: Four dead and several injured after collision near Gold Coast’s Sea World Resort



CNN

A mid-air collision between two helicopters in Australia has killed four people and left three others in critical condition, officials said Monday.

The collision happened around 2 p.m. local time near the popular tourist strip of Maine Beach on the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane.

“When those two aircraft collided, they went down on the sandbank just outside the Sea World Resort,” Queensland Police Inspector Gary Worrell, south-east regional officer, told reporters.

He added that it was difficult for emergency services to access the sandbank near the coast.

According to Jayney Shearman of the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), thirteen people were on board the two helicopters. Of these, four people were killed, three were seriously injured and six suffered minor injuries, including cuts from broken glass.

Places where on January 2  two helicopters collided on the gold coast, aerial view.

According to her, all the injured were taken to the hospital.

Pictures from the site show wreckage on the sandbar, with workers gathered on land and numerous boats in the surrounding waters.

Worrell said that while it was too early to determine the exact cause of the accident, initial investigations indicated that one helicopter was taking off and the other was landing when they collided.

One helicopter “had its windshield removed and landed safely on the island. The other (helicopter) crashed and was overturned,” he said.

He added that after the accident, nearby police and members of the public rushed to the scene and tried to remove the people in the helicopter and give them first aid.

The helicopter, which on January 2  wreck off Main Beach, Gold Coast, Australia.

Angus Mitchell, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), said in a statement that an investigation had been launched into the collision.

Investigators from ATSB offices in Brisbane and Canberra will be sent to the scene to collect evidence, examine the wreckage and map the location, as well as interview witnesses and parties involved, Mitchell added.

He asked people who witnessed the collision or saw the helicopters in flight to contact investigators. A preliminary report will be submitted in the next six to eight weeks and a final report will be submitted after the investigation is completed, he said.

In a statement on Twitter, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expressed her “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims and all those affected. “What happened on the Gold Coast today is an unimaginable tragedy,” she said.

Police say Sea World Drive has been closed to traffic and are urging motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area.

Sea World Drive is the main access point to the popular tourist marine park in the heart of the Gold Coast. It is peak tourist season in the region and schools are closed for the long summer break.

CNN has reached out to Sea World for comment.

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