At least four passengers were killed and several others heavily injured after two helicopters collided over a beach in Australia.
The incident occurred on January 2, 2023, when two Sea World Helicopters came into collision mid-air over the Gold Coast beach in Queensland, one of Australia’s most crowded regions in the peak period of summer holidays in Australia.
Video footage of the fatal crash on social media showed a helicopter shortly after takeoff being hit by another helicopter that was supposed to land nearby. After the impact, one helicopter plunged to the ground suffering substantial airframe damage, while the other managed to land on a sandbank.
Speaking at a news conference, the Queensland police acting inspector Gary Worrell said debris spread across the area making it difficult for the local rescue team to access it.
“One airframe has the windscreen removed and it’s landed safely on the island, the other airframe has crashed, it was upside down. […] 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 was cited as saying by ABC News.
The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau (ATSB) chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said the authority opened an investigation into the cause of the crash.
“Transport safety investigators with experience in helicopter operations, maintenance, and survivability engineering are deploying from the ATSB’s Brisbane and Canberra offices and are expected to begin arriving at the accident site from Monday afternoon,” Mitchell said.
The Associated Press reported that the collision led to the death of three passengers and a pilot onboard one helicopter. Passengers of a less damaged helicopter suffered critical injuries and were taken to a local hospital for immediate medical assistance.