MELBOURNE, Australia — Four people died and eight others were injured in a midair collision of two helicopters on Monday in a tourist area in Queensland on the Gold Coast.
The accident occurred on the sunny afternoon of a public holiday near Sea World, an ocean-themed amusement park. The area south of Brisbane is a popular vacation destination for Australians and foreign tourists.
In a statement, the police in Queensland said the crash appeared to have occurred as one helicopter was landing and the other was taking off. One of the two helicopters, which was carrying six passengers, five of whom suffered minor injuries, successfully landed on a small sand island, the police said.
The other craft crashed nearby, where it lay upside-down after the accident. Four people were pronounced dead at the scene, including the pilot, and three others were critically injured, according to a local ambulance official. They were taken to a hospital, and an investigation is now underway with a report expected within six to eight weeks, a police spokesperson said.
Immediately after the crash, the police and members of the public — some on motorized water scooters or in tourist boats — rushed to help. “They commenced first aid and tried to get those people to safety,” Gary Worrell, the Queensland state police acting inspector, said at a news conference.
Scenic tourist flights along the Gold Coast are a common activity for visitors. A spokesperson for Sea World Helicopters, a local tourism company whose logo could be seen on at least one of the aircraft, said the company would cooperate with the investigation into the crash.
“We and the entire flying community are devastated by what has happened, and our sincere condolences go to all those involved and especially the loved ones and family of the deceased,” the company said in a statement. “As it is now a police investigation, we cannot provide any further information at this stage.”