Two men seriously injured when their helicopter crashed in waters off the central Queensland coast were saved after their luggage washed up on a nearby beach, sparking a search and rescue operation.
Police said they started searching for what they initially thought was a capsized boat after chilly bin, luggage and fishing rods started washing up on beaches near Gladstone on Saturday afternoon.
Just after midnight, the RACQ rescue 300 helicopter found a helicopter partially submerged off Curtis Island, and discovered two injured men, aged 61 and 56, lying on the beach.
Senior Sergeant Robyn Taylor-Ward said the label on one of the men's bags may have saved their lives.
Ms Taylor-Ward said the men were in serious conditions.
"They obviously rendered first aid and the men were then transported to Rockhampton Base Hospital," she said.