SEVERAL people are feared to have died after a helicopter went missing near Melbourne, Australia, with an urgent search launched to find its passengers and crew.
Police in Victoria confirmed that two helicopters were travelling in a convoy when one disappeared, and an air ambulance has been deployed.A helicopter has gone missing with several people on board in Australia[/caption] The flight path of a rescue helicopter searching for the missing aircraft[/caption] Low cloud and a brush fire is hampering the search for the aircraft[/caption]
“Several people” were onboard the two helicopters, according to 9News.
One of the helicopters is feared to have crashed – although this hasn’t been confirmed – while the second is still missing.
“At this stage, the second helicopter is yet to be located,” a police spokeswoman said. “Emergency services are in the area searching.”
Crew from Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police, and Fire Forest Management Victoria are currently in the area.
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In a statement, Ambulance Victoria said that “crews are making their way to the scene and the air ambulance has been dispatched”.
9News reports that around 20 cars were in the area by 12pm local time (2am BST).
Data on FlightRadar24 shows two helicopters searching for any survivors following the incident near Mount Disappointment, north of Melbourne.
A Bombardier Challenger jet aircraft, operated by Cobham SAR services on behalf of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, is also searching the area, as well as an air ambulance helicopter and a second chopper.
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In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Country Fire Authority said seven vehicles had been scrambled to the scene, including four trucks and three fire brigade vehicles.
The Australian Defence Force says the missing helicopter is not believed to be a military aircraft, according to ABC News Australia.
A brush fire in the area is obscuring the search for the helicopter.
According to the Herald Sun, an emergency alert for a “not yet under control” bushfire was reported in the area at 11.40am local time (1.40am BST).
It isn’t known if the fire is linked to the incident.
Low-lying cloud in the area is further hampering the search for the aircraft.
At this stage, the second helicopter is yet to be locatedSpokeswoman, Police Victoria
Emergency services were called at around 9.35am Thursday local time (11.35pm Wednesday BST) following reports an aircraft had vanished.
Victoria Police say two helicopters were travelling north in a convoy from Melbourne’s Central Business District when an “aviation incident” was reported over Mount Disappointment, some 60km north of the city.
Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau said it was “gathering further information” and had been notified of the incident.
The search for the missing helicopter is centred around an area relatively close to Victoria’s Puckapunyal military base near Seymour.
Emergency crews are now moving up further into the mountain as they continue their search.
Mount Disappointment is an 800-metre-high peak located at the southern end of the Great Dividing Range.
It got its name from explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell who, in 1824, were disappointed that after scaling the peak, the thick treeline prevented them from seeing Port Phillip Bay from the top.
The area is known for its popular hiking trails and campsites.
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In 1944, it was the site of a deadly crash when two Royal Australian Air Force dive bombers crashed into the side of the mountain killing five as a result of low-hanging cloud.
Two more RAAF members died in a similar crash two years earlier, while one more was killed in 1953.The helicopter went missing over Mount Disappointment near Melbourne, Australia[/caption] A huge emergency services presence is in the area [FILE IMAGE][/caption]
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