Four people have been reported dead after two Australian helicopters collided mid-air near Seaworld on Australia’s Gold Coast.
BBC quoted Queensland’s ambulance service as saying that the other nine passengers aboard the two aircraft sustained injuries.
According to the BBC report, three passengers including a woman and two young boys were taken to hospital in critical condition, while the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has said it will investigate the incident.
It was gathered that the collision took place around 14:00 local time (04:00 GMT) along a tourist strip known as Main Beach, about 75km (47 miles) South of Brisbane.
Queensland police, Gary Worrell told the BBC that one helicopter appeared to be taking off as the other one was landing.
Worrell said the four recorded deaths and three others who sustained serious injuries all occurred in the same aircraft.
According to him, “It’s a difficult scene,” adding that “Due to the area it’s located, on the sand bank, it was difficult to gain access, to get our emergency services to the scene to manage it appropriately.”
The other helicopter has the popular marine park’s logo emblazoned on its side, and appears to have safely landed after the collision.
Seaworld Drive, the main access road to the marine park, has been closed off to traffic by local police.
They urged motorists and pedestrians to avoid the area as first responders inspect the scene.
Investigators from the ATSB’s offices in Brisbane and Canberra are being deployed to the scene to gather evidence, examine the wreckage and interview witnesses.
ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell has also asked eyewitnesses who saw the collision or the helicopters in flight to contact investigators.
A preliminary report will be made public in the next six to eight weeks, with a final report to follow once the investigation is complete, he added.
The Gold Coast region is currently in its peak tourist season with children on their summer breaks.