Tragedy struck on Monday (January 2nd) when two helicopters crashed into each other at an Australian tourist hotspot. The accident resulted in four passengers losing their lives and three others critically injured.
AP News reports that prior to the crash, one of the helicopters appeared to have been taking off while the other was landing. Somehow the two planes ended up colliding near the Sea World theme park in Main Beach, which is a northern beach on the Gold Coast.
Speaking about the helicopters crash, Gary Worrell, Queensland State Police acting inspector, shared at a news conference, “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.”
Worrell also said that people on jet skis, family boaters, and other ordinary members of the public rushed to assist the passengers on the helicopters following the crash. Sea World Helicopters, a separate company from the theme park, expressed its condolences for those impacted by the crash. It also said it was cooperating with authorities that are handling the investigation into the incident.
“We and the entire flying community are devastated by what has happened,” the company shared in a statement. “And our sincere condolences go to all those involved and especially the loved ones and family of the deceased.”
However, Sea World Helicopters did not confirm if it is the operator of one or both of the aircrafts involved in the crash. It did say that it would not comment further due to the investigation.
A Witness Says They Head the Helicopters Crash While At Sea World
Meanwhile, a witness revealed to Melbourne radio station 3AW that he had heard the helicopters crash while he was at Sea World. He revealed that the theme park’s staff closed off the areas closest to the crash site.
“There was a massive, massive bang,” the witness explained. “It was 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 Ambulance Service had also reported that 13 people were being assessed for injuries following the crash. Jayney Shearman, from the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) reportedly stated that along with the three passengers that suffered serious injuries, six had minor injuries. The injuries included cuts from shattered glass. All of the injured were taken to a nearby hospital.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also said that the collision 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 further explained that the investigation into the crash is already underway.
Worrell then said that one of the helicopters had its windscreen removed and its landed safely on the island. The other helicopter had crashed and it was upside down.