Officials reported that two helicopters collided mid-air on Australia’s Gold Coast, killing four passengers. Photos from the scene showed one of the helicopters’ blades lying on a sand bank.
According to police, three more persons are in critical condition.
A few steps from the coast, one helicopter was lying on its side on the sand. Images from public broadcaster ABC showed that its rotors were nearby.
At the crash scene, which is close to the well-known Sea World marine theme park, the other helicopter appeared to be largely unharmed.
Images of the aftermath revealed a bright yellow rescue aircraft had landed nearby, its rotors whirring, with a large number of rescuers strewn about.
A number of police and rescue boats waited nearby, just off the sandbank where the two aircraft’s debris was scattered.
“Those two aircraft, when collided, have crash landed, and landed, on the sandbank just out from Sea World resort,” Queensland police service acting inspector Gary Worrell told a news conference at the scene.
“As a result of that, four people have lost their lives today,” he said. “Three others are critical in hospital.”
An investigation into the incident—which Australia’s transport safety agency called a “mid-air collision”—was opened.
It added in a statement that investigators would soon arrive to investigate the debris, map the scene, and recover components for further analysis.