SEVERAL people are feared to have died after a helicopter went missing near Melbourne, Australia, prompting an urgent search for passengers and crew.
Victoria Police confirmed two helicopters were traveling in a convoy when one disappeared and an air ambulance was dispatched.
According to 9News, “several people” were on board the two helicopters.
One of the helicopters is feared to have crashed – although this has not been confirmed – while the second is still missing.
“At this point in time, the second helicopter has yet to be located,” said a police spokeswoman. “Emergency services are in the area, searching.”
Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police and Fire Forest Management Victoria crew are currently in the area.
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 as of 12 noon local time (2am BST), there were about 20 cars in the area.
Data on FlightRadar24 shows two helicopters searching for survivors near Mount Disappointment, north of , after the incident Melbourne.
A Bombardier Challenger jet operated by Cobham SAR Services on behalf of the Australian The Maritime Safety Authority is also searching the area, as well as an ambulance helicopter and a second helicopter.
In a statement, a Country Fire Authority spokeswoman said seven vehicles were brought to the scene, including four trucks and three fire engines.
According to ABC News Australia, the missing helicopter is not a military aircraft, the Australian Defense Force said.
A bushfire in the area obscured the search for the helicopter.
According to the Herald SunAn emergency alert was reported at 11.40am local time (1.40am BST) for a “not yet under control” bushfire in the area.
It is not known if the fire is related to the incident.
Low-hanging clouds in the area make it even more difficult to find the aircraft.
At this point, the second helicopter has yet to be located
Spokeswoman, Victoria Police
Emergency services were called around 9.35am local time (11.35pm Wednesday BST) on Thursday after a plane was reported missing.
Two helicopters were heading north in a convoy from Melbourne’s central business district, according to Victoria Police, 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 briefed on the incident.
The search for the missing helicopter is focused on an area near Victoria’s Puckapunyal military base near Seymour.
Rescuers are now moving further into the mountain as they continue their search.
Mount Disappointment is a 800 meter high peak 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 the thick tree line prevented them from seeing Port Phillip Bay from above after scaling the summit.
The area is known for its popular hiking trails and campgrounds.
A fatal crash occurred there in 1944 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 other RAAF members died in a similar crash two years earlier, while another was killed in 1953.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5016229/melbourne-helicopter-missing-australia-mount-disappointment/ Several people feared death after the helicopter went missing near a mountain as a frantic search began