Four people were killed and three seriously injured after two helicopters collided mid-air in Australia, officials said Monday.
The crash occurred around 2pm local time near the popular tourist precinct of Main Beach on the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane.
Gary Worrell, Queensland Police spokesman and duty officer for the South East Region, told reporters: “When these two planes collided, they crash-landed on a sandbank just outside Sea World Resort.” said.
He added that it was difficult for emergency services to access the sandbar not far from the coast.
There were 13 people on board the two helicopters, according to Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Janey Sherman. Of these, four died, three were seriously injured, and six suffered minor injuries, including cuts from shattered glass.
All the injured were taken to hospital, she said.
Photographs from the site show the wreckage lying on a band of sand, manning the land and numerous vessels anchored in the surrounding waters.
Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said in a statement that an investigation into the crash had been launched.
Investigators from the ATSB’s offices in Brisbane and Canberra will be sent to the scene to collect evidence, examine wreckage, map the scene and interview witnesses and officials, Mitchell added.
He asked people who witnessed the crash or saw the helicopter in flight to contact investigators. A preliminary report is expected within the next six to eight weeks, with a final report after the investigation is completed, according to a statement.
Police say Sea World Drive is closed to traffic and motorists and pedestrians are urged to avoid the area.
Sea World Drive is the main access point to the popular tourist marine park in the heart of the Gold Coast. We are currently in the peak tourist season in the area and schools are closed for the long summer holidays.
CNN reached out to Sea World for comment.
This is a developing story.