Australia helicopter crash: Two Britons among four dead after two choppers collide near Sea World on Gold Coast
Two Britons are reported to be among four dead after a mid-air collision between two helicopters in Australia.
The helicopters collided at a tourist hotspot on Australia’s Gold Coast, killing four passengers and critically injuring three others.
One helicopter appeared to have been taking off and the other landing when they collided near the Sea World theme park at Main Beach, Queensland police said.
One helicopter landed safely on a sandbank, but debris from the other was spread across an area police described as difficult to access.
A Foreign Office spokesman told the BBC two UK citizens were among those killed in the crash.
They added officials were supporting the families of the two victims - who have not been named - and would remain “in contact with the local authorities”.
The dead and three most seriously injured people were all passengers in the crashed helicopter.
“Members of the public and police tried to remove the people and they commenced first aid and tried to get those people to safety from an airframe that was upside down,” said Gary Worrell, Queensland state police acting inspector.
“(People on) Jet Skis, family boaters, ordinary members of the public rushed to assist these people.”
Passengers in the other helicopter, which lost its windscreen in the crash, are also receiving medical assistance.
Footage of the crash showed a helicopter shortly after take-off being clipped by another aircraft flying over the water.
A witness named John told Melbourne radio station 3AW that patrons at Sea World heard the crash, and staff moved swiftly to close off 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 against each other. But there was this poor lady and her son near the helipad in tears.”
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the accident was an “unthinkable tragedy”.
“My deepest sympathies are with each of 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 under way.
Queensland Ambulance Service said earlier that 13 people were being assessed for injuries.
The Gold Coast region is at its busiest in January, the peak time for holidays in Australia’s summer.