4 passengers are dead after 2 helicopters collide over an Australian beach : NPR

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This image made from a video shows a sandbar with a crashed helicopter on the Gold Coast, Australia Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. Two helicopters collided Monday afternoon on the Australian beach. (Australian Broadcasting Corp. via AP)

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This image made from a video shows a sandbar with a crashed helicopter on the Gold Coast, Australia Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. Two helicopters collided Monday afternoon on the Australian beach. (Australian Broadcasting Corp. via AP)

AP

MELBOURNE, Australia — Two helicopters collided in an Australian tourist hotspot Monday afternoon, killing four passengers and critically injuring three others in a crash that drew emergency help from hikers. -beach to enjoy the water during the southern summer.

One helicopter appeared to be taking off and the other was landing when it crashed near the Sea World theme park at Main Beach, a northern beach on the Gold Coast, said acting state police inspector Gary Worrell. of Queensland, at a news conference.

One helicopter landed safely on a sandbar, but debris from the other was strewn around the area police described as difficult to access.

The dead and three people who were seriously injured were all passengers in the helicopter that crashed.

“Members of the public and police tried to remove people and started first aid and tried to get those people to safety from an aircraft that was upside down,” Worrell said.

“(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.

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

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

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

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

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the incident was “an unimaginable tragedy.

“My deepest sympathies are with each of the families and all those affected by this terrible incident,” she said.

The Australian Commissioner of the Transport Safety Office Angus Mitchell said that an investigation is underway into the cause of the crash.

Queensland Ambulance Service said earlier that 13 people were being assessed for injuries.

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

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