Fears multiple people are dead as helicopters 'collide' near Sea World

Four dead and three fighting for life after two Sea World helicopters collided in the air near the theme park – as paramedics work on 13 patients in the wreckage on a sandbank

  • Two helicopters collided and crashed near Sea World in the Gold Coast
  • The aircraft slammed into a sandbank with only wreckage remaining
  • Four of the seven people in one chopper were killed in the horror crash
  • The other three, a woman and two young boys, are fighting for life in hospital
  • Other helicopter with six people on board managed to land and all survived 

Four people are dead, three fighting for their lives, and others injured after two helicopters collided near the Sea World theme park as horrified holidaymakers watched on.

Debris showered down over the Broadwater on the Gold Coast before the crippled aircraft spiralled into a sandbank about 2pm local time on Monday.

Queensland Ambulance confirmed four people were dead, three fighting for life, and another four rushed to hospital.

Three people are feared dead after two helicopters collided in mid-air near the Sea World on the Gold Coast theme park as horrified holidaymakers watched on

Photos showed at least one of the two choppers was a Sea World helicopter tour aircraft

Paramedics and police on the scene on Monday afternoon (pictured)

Witnesses told Daily Mail Australia one of the helicopters was coming in to land when it clipped the rotor of the other aircraft that was taking off.

Emma Burch, another witness, had the same account of how the accident unfolded.

‘From what we saw one was taking off, the other landing. They clipped each other,’ she said.

‘Massive bang heard right through the Broadwater tourist park then the swooshing as the one that lost control hit the water and broke apart.

‘It’s just awful. Everyone is in shock.’

One of the helicopters crashed into the sandbar, leaving wreckage across the shore with the main rotor embedded in the sand some distance from the rest of the wreck.

Four onboard died, including the pilot, while another three, a woman and two young boys, are in critical condition.

The other helicopter managed to land on the sandbar nearby, with six people on board, some of whom suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The two helicopters involved in the collision can be seen on the sandbank – with crashing into the sand and the other landing upright

Marine Rescue raced to the sandbar, seen in front of one helicopter with a Sea World logo 

Lifeguards and police officers on board one of several vessels that raced to the scene

Queensland Ambulance said there were 13 patients in total, six in one helicopter and seven in the other. 

Volunteer Marine Rescue Southport Duty captain Matt Fitzpatrick said three units were dispatched to the scene.

‘There are multiple helicopters involved and we do not know the state of those who were aboard,’ he said.

Photos showed at least one of the two choppers – the one that landed without crashing – was a Sea World helicopter tour aircraft.

The company issued a statement hours after the crash.

‘Sea World Helicopters (SWH) has expressed its shock and deepest sympathy for those involved in the Sea World helicopter accident on the Gold Coast, Broadwater at Southport this afternoon,’ a spokesperson for Sea World Helicopters said.

‘We and the entire flying community are devastated by what has happened and our sincere condolences go to all those involved and especially the loved ones and family of the deceased.

‘We are cooperating with all the authorities including the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the Queensland Police. As it is now a police investigation we cannot provide any further information at this stage.’

Paramedics transported one patient to a waiting helicopter to be airlifted to hospital 

helicopter crash at Seaworld#seaworld #goldcoastaustralia

The front of the Sea World helicopter that remained still upright sustained heavy damage

It is understood the helicopter taking off clipped another helicopter above and then nosedived into the sand 

Witnesses expressed their shock at the mid-air collision.

‘I heard a bang and saw smoke billowing from one of the choppers. It was smoking and wobbling to the ground,’ one witness told Daily Mail Australia.

‘One person was asking whether it was part of the Sea World show.’

A distraught woman and child were seen at the helipad while part of the theme park was shut down so patrons couldn’t look out at the crash site. 

Others said watching the accident unfold was ‘beyond horrible’.

‘My daughter saw them. People on both. Landed on the sand not in SeaWorld thank goodness. Just praying for all,’ one said.

‘We heard a loud noise and saw bits of debris flying,’ another wrote online.

Gold Coast resident Tor Kumpel was swimming in the broadwater with his wife when he witnessed the collision just after one helicopter took off.

‘It was only one helicopter that crashed. The one that was coming up. It was horrific to see,’ he told The Courier Mail.

‘The (pilot) who was in the other one that landed. They deserve a medal. It took a bit to steady but they did it.’

Blue Mountains resident Amii McDermot, 42, was in line at Sea World’s Vortex ride when she saw the crash unfold.

‘There was debris everywhere, the tail fell off one of them and the helicopter nosedived into the ground at full-speed.’

She said her two younger children don’t realise what they saw but her older two are quite shaken up. 

Investigators are racing to collect evidence before high tide covers the sandbar

Officers scour the sand for pieces of debris that could assist the investigation into the cause

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it has already commenced an investigation into the collision. 

‘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,’ ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said.

‘During the evidence gathering phase of the investigation, ATSB investigators will examine the wreckage and map the accident site.’ 

‘Investigators will also recover any relevant components for further examination at the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra, gather any available recorded data for analysis, and interview witnesses and other involved parties.

The ATSB is asking for witnesses of the crash to contact them immediately. 

Emergency services rushed to the wreckage hoping to find survivors, but grave fears are held for all those on board

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