Investigators remain at the scene of the accident, but the rising tide was adding to the difficulty of collecting evidence from the scene.

Mitchell said investigators wanted to identify what was happening in the «cockpits at the time» of the crash.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it is supporting the family of the deceased 57-year-old woman and 65-year-old man from Britain who had holidayed in the Australian state of Queensland.

The other passenger who died was a 36-year-old woman from the Sydney suburb of Glenmore Park.

Three passengers on the flight remain hospitalized: a 10-year-old boy, also from Glenmore Park, in critical condition, a 33-year-old woman from Geelong in critical condition and a 9-year-old boy from Victoria state whose condition was stable.

The passengers on the helicopter that landed safely included two couples in their 40s from New Zealand and a 27-year-old woman from Western Australia. Three of the five passengers remain hospitalized after being bathed in glass.

Holiday visitors and people enjoying the water rushed to help emergency services workers when the accident occurred near Sea World marine park, during Australia’s peak summer holiday period.

Authorities praised members of the public who came to the aid of the helicopters.

“Our thoughts are with everyone who was affected here, not only those who were in the helicopter and their families, but also those who were in the water yesterday and have witnessed the confrontation scenes of those helicopters going down, in particularly the people who were the first responders,” Mitchell said.

Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which owns Sea World Helicopters, said in a statement that it was working with authorities while «offering its deepest condolences to those affected» by the tragedy.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also offered his «deepest condolences to those who are grieving.»

«Australia is shocked by the news of the terrible and tragic helicopter incident… on the Gold Coast,» he wrote on social media.