Seven Dead In Tour Helicopter Crash (Updated)


All seven people people on board died in the crash of a Safari Helicopter Eurocopter AS350 B2 tour helicopter during sightseeing trip along Kauai’s Nā Pali Coast in Hawaii on Thursday. The search for the seventh person onboard the aircraft was suspended on Friday due to weather, but is expected to resume on Saturday. The passengers included a mother and teenaged daughter from Wisconsin and a family from Switzerland.

The Coast Guard initiated a search for the helicopter after its owner reported it overdue 45 minutes after its scheduled return time of 5:21 p.m. HST on Thursday evening. The Coast Guard then launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to search for the missing aircraft and coordinated with the U.S. Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 at Kaneohe Bay for additional support just after midnight local time. The Coast Guard cutter William Hart was also dispatched from Honolulu. The search was continued on Friday morning with an HC-130 Hercules and a fresh Dolphin helicopter crew.

The wreckage was discovered in a remote area on the northwest side of the island at about 9:30 a.m. Friday morning approximately 13 miles north of the city of Hanapepe. According to the FAA, the helicopter departed from Lihue Airport (LIH). Weather in the area around the time of the accident was reported as 4 miles visibility due to clouds and rain with 28 mph winds.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I’ve spent a lot of time on Kauai. Helicopters violate Part 136 Appendix for Hawaii all the time. Departing Lihue in rain and 28 mph winds was not a good plan.

  2. Considering the number of flights operated on Kauai their safety record has been excellent, and of course dealing with rain and the accompanying cloud pattern is an everyday consideration for them. But given the terrain traversed you could certainly expect an occasionally sporty flight with 28 mph winds.