19 Mar 2017

Washed-up luggage leads rescuers to helicopter crash survivors

3:58 pm on 19 March 2017

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.

Australia, Queensland, Curtis Island, Cape Capricorn, houses on hill.

Rescuers found the two injured men lying on a beach on Curtis Island. Photo: AFP

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.