Two Britons among four dead in helicopter crash at Australian beach

Footage shows a helicopter crashing into another shortly after take-off near the Sea World theme park on the Gold Coast

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Four people, including two Britons, have been killed after two helicopters crashed into each other in mid-air above an Australian beach on Monday afternoon.

Footage of the crash showed a helicopter colliding with another shortly after take-off near the Sea World theme park on a tourist strip known as Main Beach on the Gold Coast, Queensland state police acting inspector Gary Worrell said.

Three other passengers were critically injured in the collision.

“We are supporting the family of two British nationals who died in Australia and are in contact with the local authorities," said a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office representative.

One helicopter appeared to have been taking off and the other landing.

“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," Mr Worrell said.

“[People on] Jet skis, family boaters, ordinary members of the public rushed to assist these people.”

One helicopter landed safely on a sandbank, while debris from the other was spread across an area police said was difficult to access, AP reported.

The crashed helicopter, victims and emergency services on a sandbank at Queensland's Gold Coast. AP

The four dead and three injured were all passengers on the same helicopter.

Passengers on the other aircraft were receiving medical assistance.

“There was a massive, massive bang,” a witness named John told Melbourne radio station 3AW. “It was just 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.”

He said patrons at Sea World heard the crash and theme park staff moved swiftly to close off areas closest to the crash.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the accident was an “unthinkable tragedy”.

“My deepest sympathies are with each of the families and everyone affected by this terrible accident.”

Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said an investigation into the cause of the crash was under way.

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

The Gold Coast region is at its busiest in January, the peak time for holidays in Australia’s summer.

Updated: January 02, 2023, 10:13 PM