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Helicopter crash in Australia: Four dead, several injured after collision near Sea World Resort in Gold Coast

Helicopter crash in Australia: Four dead, several injured after collision near Sea World Resort in Gold Coast

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CNN

Mid-air collision between two helicopters in Australia left four people dead and three others in critical condition, authorities said Monday.

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

“These two aircraft, when they collided, crash-landed on the sandbank right in front of the Sea World Resort,” Queensland Police Inspector Gary Worrell, regional duty officer for the southeast region, told reporters.

He added that it was difficult for emergency services to gain access to the sandbank located not far from the coast.

Thirteen people were on the two helicopters, according to Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS)’s Janey Shearman. Of those, four people died, three were seriously injured and six had minor injuries, including cuts from broken glass.

All the injured were taken to hospital, she said.

Pictures from the scene showed wreckage lying on a strip of sand, with personnel gathered on land and numerous vessels in the surrounding waters.

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

One helicopter’s windshield was removed and it landed safely on the island. The other (helicopter) crashed and was upside down,” he said.

He added that after the crash, nearby police officers and members of the public rushed to the scene, trying to remove and provide first aid to the people in the helicopter.

Debris from a helicopter that crashed near Maine Beach on the Gold Coast, Australia, on January 2.

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

Investigators from the ATSB’s Brisbane and Canberra offices will be sent to the scene to collect evidence, examine the remains and map the scene, 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 come in the next six to eight weeks, with a final report after the investigation is complete, he said.

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

Police said Sea World Drive was closed to traffic and urged drivers 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’s peak tourist season in the region, with schools closed for the long summer vacation.

CNN has reached out to Sea World for comment.


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