Australia: Two Britons among four dead after two helicopter crashes

Two helicopters crash mid-air near Sea World

Three other people are critically injured (Image: EPA)

Two Britons are among four who died when two helicopters collided at an Australian tourist hotspot.

Three other people have been critically injured after the tragedy near Sea World theme park on Main Beach on the Gold Coast.

One helicopter is believed to have taken off and the other landed when they met each other.

An FCDO spokesman told tonight: “We are supporting the family of two British nationals who have died in Australia and are in contact with local authorities.”

Their identities are not yet known.

But tribute was paid to Ash Jenkinson, 40, Sea World Helicopters chief pilot who was killed along with three passengers.

He is remembered as a “legend” who led efforts during the floods in northern New South Wales last year.

The dead and the three seriously injured were all occupants of the crashing helicopter. The other landed safely on a sandbar.

epa10386029 Two helicopters are seen after a collision near Seaworld on the Gold Coast, Australia, January 2, 2023. Four people are dead and another 13 injured after two helicopters collided before one crashed into the Broadwater on the Gold Coast. EPA/DAVE HUNT FROM AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

One helicopter landed safely while the other crashed (Image: EPA)

This image taken from video shows a sand island with crashed helicopter, victims and rescue services on the Gold Coast, Australia, Monday January 2, 2023. Two helicopters collided in Australia's tourist hotspot on Monday afternoon. (CH9 via AP)

One helicopter is believed to have taken off and the other landed (Image: AP)

A witness named John described hearing “a massive, massive bang.”

“It was just huge,” he told Melbourne radio station 3AW. “I’m not sure if it was the propellers or whatever that was hitting each other. But there was this poor lady and her son in tears near the helipad.’

Witnesses desperately tried to help the injured as debris blanketed an area that police said was difficult to access.

“Members of the public and police were trying to remove the people and they started first aid and trying to get these people to safety from an upside down airframe,” Queensland State Police Acting Inspector Gary Worrell said.

“(People on) jet skis, family boaters, ordinary members of the public rushed out to help these people.”

Sea World Helicopters, a separate company from the theme park, has sent its condolences to the families of the deceased.

The company is said to be working with the authorities conducting the crash investigation.

The company did not confirm whether it operated either or both of the helicopters involved in the crash.

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Justin Scacco

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