At least three environmental activists have been killed in an incident in which their helicopter crashed in eastern Australia under yet unknown circumstances.
The bodies of the victims, all in their seventies, were found at the site of the crash in Watagans National Park in the eastern coastal state of New South Wales late on Monday.
The victims had left the small village of Breeza in New South Wales with an EC135 Eurocopter, heading to Sydney on Saturday. However, they never arrived at the destination, prompting a search operation in an “inaccessible” and location, according to local police official Craig Jackson.
The trip should only have taken a couple of hours, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said, adding that no mayday calls or emergency beacons were detected.
AMSA, however, said there were “severe” weather conditions in the area, where the wreckage of the modern twin-turbine helicopter crashed, at the possible time of the incident.
All the three environmental activists had, the day before the crash, attended a protest gathering against the Australian government’s endorsement of a huge coal mining project near a farmland area. The project has triggered concerns of large-scale mining and its impact on the environment.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau announced that an investigation into the crash has already begun.