4 individuals have died after two helicopters collided mid-air close to Sea World on the Gold Coast.
Three extra individuals are in a vital situation in hospital, Queensland Police Service Appearing Inspector Gary Worrell stated.
All of those that died or have been severely injured have been from the identical helicopter, he stated.
Police and witnesses stated one helicopter was touchdown and the opposite was taking off after they collided.
One helicopter plunged to the bottom face down and the opposite managed to efficiently land — a Sea World emblem might be seen on its facet.
The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) stated the incident occurred at 1:59pm.
13 sufferers are being assessed on the scene, QAS stated.
It comes on the peak of tourism season on the fashionable vacation vacation spot.
Wreckage might be seen on the scene — a small sand island on the Gold Coast Broadwater — with emergency service helicopters and police boats attending.
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Australian Transport and Security Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the collision.
“The ATSB has commenced a transport security investigation into the deadly mid-air collision involving two helicopters on Monday afternoon,” ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell stated in an announcement.
“Transport security investigators with expertise in helicopter operations, upkeep and survivability engineering are deploying from the ATSB’s Brisbane and Canberra workplaces and are anticipated to start arriving on the accident website from Monday afternoon.
“Through the proof gathering part of the investigation, ATSB investigators will look at the wreckage and map the accident website.
The ATSB appealed for witnesses to come back ahead.
Amii McDermott witnessed the crash whereas she was standing in line for a trip along with her household on the Sea World theme park.
She stated it appeared to have occurred when a helicopter coming into land collided with one other that had simply taken off.
“We have been trying to the place they have been taking off and we noticed two helicopters and so they have been shut, which was uncommon as a result of usually you did not see them collectively that shut,” she stated.
“Then I heard one of many engines in one of many helicopters begin to rev just like the pilot was taking some form of emergency motion.”
Ms McDermott stated the tail of the helicopter coming into land hit the entrance of the helicopter taking off.
“It began smashing into it … after which it continued to hit it [the cabin of the other helicopter] after which the tail just about snapped off,” stated Ms McDermott who was visiting from the Blue Mountains.
Ms McDermott stated after the tail fell off, the helicopter then simply dropped.
“It plummeted to the bottom nostril first, straight down.”
She stated the opposite helicopter was wobbling however went down making an attempt to land.
“It did not look good but it surely was sustaining some management.”
Ms McDermott stated no-one was screaming as a result of no person knew what was taking place and it occurred so shortly.
“Except you occurred to be wanting in the best course you’ll have missed it. It was over in seconds,” she stated.
As she left along with her household she noticed first aiders operating into the theme park entrance.
“They have been calling out: ‘Carry the defibrillators’,” she stated.
Windy day within the space, witness says
Close by resident Steve Raschilla stated he noticed one of many helicopters “break into items”.
He stated he heard a “loud bang” and items of the helicopters started to fly all over the place.
“The principle a part of the helicopter was intact and fell straight to the bottom and plenty of different bits and items of bits within the center, all of them simply fell to the bottom,” Mr Raschilla stated.
“After which the opposite helicopter shortly after landed.”
Mr Raschilla stated it was a normal spot for helicopters to fly, but it surely was odd seeing helicopter out in windy circumstances.
“What appeared unusual at the moment was that it was so windy, and helicopters have been out, and so shut collectively,” he stated.
Hannah, who was at Sea World on the time of the incident, stated she initially thought it was an enormous automotive crash.
“It appeared like a automotive crash to start with, an enormous one, after which we heard the helicopter propellers slowly getting decrease, after which we heard one other large huge bang,” she stated.
“A pair [of] individuals sort of stopped and appeared round and was like, ‘what’s that’ and everybody else simply went to went together with their enterprise.”
Sea World Drive at Primary Seaside has been closed, with motorists and pedestrians suggested to keep away from the realm.
The crash comes nearly 32 years after a pleasure flight from Sea World resulted in catastrophe when a helicopter crashed into the seashore on South Stradbroke Island, exploding into flames, killing all seven on board.
In that case on March 3, 1991, 5 members of the one household died within the crash, together with a household good friend from France, and the 27-year-old pilot.
On the time, the 1991 crash was described because the worst helicopter crash in Australian historical past.
5 years later, two Black Hawk helicopters collided mid-air throughout a counter-terrorism coaching train in Townsville, killing 18 males in Australia’s worst peacetime army aviation catastrophe.