Four people died while three are in critical condition after a mid-air collision between two helicopters in Australia, authorities said on Monday, reported CNN.
According to CNN: "The collision happened at around 2 pm local time near the popular tourist strip of Main Beach on the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane."
Queensland Police Inspector Gary Worrell, a regional duty officer for the southeastern region, said: "Those two aircraft, when collided, crash-landed on the sandbank just out from Sea World Resort." He said that emergency services found it difficult to access the sand bank.
According to Jayney Shearman from the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), there were a total of thirteen people on the two helicopters. Of the 13, four died and three are critically injured. Six passengers had minor injuries like cuts from shattered glass.
She said that all the injured have been taken to the hospital.
Photos of the accident spot show debris lying around on a strip of sand. Various personnel are gathered on land and numerous vessels are in the surrounding waters.
"Worrell said that though it's too early to determine the exact cause of the accident, initial inquiries suggest one helicopter had been taking off and the other landing when they collided," reported CNN.
According to CNN: "One helicopter "has its windscreen removed, and it landed safely on the island. The other (helicopter) crashed, and it was upside down," Worrell said."
Nearby police and members of the public rushed to the site of the crash. They removed people from the helicopter and performed first aid.
Angus Mitchell, Chief Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), said in a statement that an investigation had been launched into the collision.
Investigators from the ATSB's offices in Brisbane and Canberra will be deployed to the scene to gather evidence, examine the wreckage and map the site, as well as interview witnesses and involved parties, Mitchell added, according to CNN.
Mitchell asked those who witnessed the collision to contact investigators. He said that a preliminary report will come in the next six to eight weeks and a final report will be available after the investigation is complete.
Recently, six people died after two World War II-era military planes collided in midair and crashed during an airshow in Dallas, Texas, CNN reported.
More than 40 fire rescue units responded to the scene after the two vintage planes, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, went down during the Wings Over Dallas airshow.
(With Inputs from ANI)