Helicopter crash on Great Barrier Reef kills 2 U.S. tourists

An Airbus H120 helicopter, similar to the one above, crashed off the coast of northeast Australia Wednesday during a tour over the Great Barrier Reef, authorities said. Two U.S. tourists died and two survived. File Photo courtesy Airbus

March 22 (UPI) — Two American tourists died Wednesday when a sightseeing helicopter crashed off northeastern Australia, officials said.

The Airbus H120, operated by Whitsunday Air Services, crashed near a coral-viewing site as it was heading to a sightseeing pontoon along the Great Barrier Reef.

A 65-year-old woman and a 79-year-old man were killed in the crash. Both were residents of Hawaii. The pilot and two other tourists from Colorado, a 33-year-old woman and 34-year-old man, survived the crash with minor injuries.

The pilot, 35, had pulled one of the dead from the wreckage and a witness performed CPR.

Australian police are investigating the cause. Whitsunday Air Services said it would suspend services until the review is complete.

The company said it is “devastated by this accident and our thoughts and condolences are with the passengers and their families.”

“At this early stage, we are unaware of the how the accident occurred, however we are providing the authorities with all of the relevant information to assist with answering their inquiries,” the company said in a statement. “We are working to assist those affected by the accident where possible through the extensive support networks of Hamilton Island where the passengers were staying.”


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