One helicopter appeared to have been taking off and the other landing when they collided near the Sea World theme park in Main Beach, a northern beach on the Golden Coast, Gary WorrellQueensland state police acting inspector, said at a news conference.
One helicopter landed safely on a sandbank, but debris from the other was spread across an area police described as difficult to access.
The dead and three most seriously injured people were all passengers in the crashed helicopter.
“Members of the public and police tried to remove the people and they commenced first aid and tried to get those people to safety from an airframe that was upside down,” Worrell said.
“(People on) Jet Skis, family boaters, ordinary members of the public rushed to assist these people.”
Passengers in the other helicopter, which lost its windscreen in the crash, are also receiving medical assistance.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said an investigation into the cause of the crash was underway.
Queensland Ambulance Service said earlier that 13 people were being assessed for injuries.
The Gold Coast region is at its busiest in January, the peak time for holidays in Australia’s summer.
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