Six Bodies Found, Including Two Children, After Hawaii Helicopter Crash
The remains of six people have been found after a helicopter heading to one of the most rugged and remote coastlines in Hawaii crashed at the top of a mountain on the island of Kauai, authorities said.
Officials said on Friday that there are no indications of survivors and that a search for the last person yet to be recovered would resume in the morning, depending on weather.
Those who were recovered have not been identified and their families are being notified, authorities said. Two passengers are believed to be minors.
The owner of the helicopter reported on Thursday evening that the aircraft, whose six passengers included two children, was overdue returning from a tour of the Na Pali Coast, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The Na Pali Coast, with its jagged green cliffs soaring from the blue Pacific Ocean, is among the most visited places by air and sea on Kauai, the western-most inhabited island in the Hawaiian chain.
The helicopter company, identified as Safari Helicopters, contacted the Coast Guard about 6pm on Thursday local time to say the aircraft was about 30 minutes overdue, authorities said.
A person who answered the phone at a number listed for Safari Helicopters declined to comment and hung up.
According to a preliminary report, the pilot said the tour was leaving the Waimea Canyon area, known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", about 4.40pm, which was the last contact with the helicopter, Kauai police said.
The Eurocopter AS350 has an emergency electronic locator transmitter, but no signals were received. The locator devices are designed to activate when an aircraft crashes, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said in an email.
The FAA requires the locators to be able to withstand impact. However, it is possible for the device to stop working in an extreme crash, Gregor said. He said the agency is looking at the company's safety record but likely won't have a full report until Monday. It's investigating along with the National Transportation Safety Board.