A British couple were among four passengers who died in a mid-air crash between two helicopters in Australia, authorities said.

Queensland Police said the UK citizens, a 57-year-old woman and 65-year-old man, were on holiday in the country and they were among four people killed in the incident which happened on the Gold Coast of Queensland state on Monday.

The crash occurred at around 2pm local time (4am GMT) in Main Beach.

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said in a statement: “We are supporting the family of two British nationals who died in Australia and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Four people killed in helicopter crash in Australia

The force said that “initial investigations” indicate that one helicopter was taking off while another was landing when the collision occurred.

While one of the helicopters was able to land safely on the sandbank with five of its six passengers suffering minor injuries, the other helicopter crashed resulting in the deaths of four passengers inside and leaving the other three passengers critically injured.

Police said the other victims included the 40-year-old pilot and a 36-year-old woman from New South Wales.

With help from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the forensic crash unit is investigating the incident.

ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said it was a “remarkable achievement” that the crash didn't cause more deaths.

He said: “The second helicopter coming in to land has remarkably managed to land upright, and considering the damage that was done to the front left-hand section of that helicopter where the pilot was sitting, that’s a remarkable achievement.

“Whilst it has been very tragic that four people have lost their lives and many families are in mourning, we could have had a far worse situation.”

Mr Mitchell said the “evidence collection phase” of the ATSB’s investigation would take about six to eight weeks.

He added: “A final report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation, however, should any critical safety issues be identified at any stage during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.”

Sea World Helicopters closes ‘until further notice’ following helicopter crash

The helicopter company involved, Sea World Helicopters, said it would be closed “until further notice”.

A placeholder message on the company’s website said: “Sea World Helicopters is devastated by the tragic accident which happened on the Gold Coast on the 2nd January.

“Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to all those involved over this very sad time. We are closed until further notice and will refund all tickets purchased.”

The company also shared a similar message on its Twitter account.

Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, said his thoughts are with those affected by the incident.

He tweeted: “Australia is shocked by the news of the terrible and tragic helicopter incident today on the Gold Coast.

“My thoughts are with all those affected, including first responders, and my deepest sympathies are with those who are grieving.”

Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, tweeted that it was an “unthinkable tragedy”.

She said: “My deepest sympathies are with each of the families and everyone affected by this terrible accident.”