Tourists killed in helicopter crash on Great Barrier Reef

Tourists killed in helicopter crash on Great Barrier Reef
File photo.

A helicopter carrying American tourists has crashed at a coral-viewing site on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, killing two passengers and injuring another two, police said.

The pilot pulled one passenger from the wreckage but desperate attempts to revive the 65-year-old woman failed, Police Inspector Ian Haughton said.

A 79-year-old man also died despite bystanders' attempts to resuscitate him, Mr Haughton said.

The two who died were from Hawaii.

A 34-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, from Colorado, were taken to the Australian mainland for treatment on non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

All four tourists knew each other.

The five-seat, single-engine Eurocopter EC120 Colibri crashed 40 miles north east of the Whitsunday Islands, near a pontoon that has underwater viewing chambers to see coral.

The US embassy in Australia said in a statement it was aware that two American citizens had died and was "providing all appropriate consular assistance".

Whitsunday Air Services said the helicopter was approaching the pontoon to land when it crashed.

The company suspended operations as it works with authorities to determine the cause of the crash.

"We are extremely saddened by this incident and our deepest condolences are with the families of all of the passengers," the company said in a statement.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirmed a crash investigation was under way.

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