Letters for Friday, March 16, 2007

• Helicopter owner irresponsible

• Something doesn’t feel right

• Get thee, to the ballot box

• No justice in this case

Helicopter owner irresponsible

I take great offense at Interisland Helicopter Tour Company owner Ken D’Atillio’s recent statement to the press concerning the crash of his tour helicopter at the YMCA campground in Ha‘ena.

“When the pilot got out, all the victims were conscious and okay, but it appeared that the one gentleman was pale and I believe he possibly had a heart attack,” said D’Attilio.

See quote here: kgmb9.com/kgmb/display.cfm?storyID=10766&sid=1183

I live in Ha‘ena and responded as quickly as I could when I heard the noise of the helicopter coming down and then the loud crash.

To put it mildly, it was a horrific, gruesome scene. For Mr. D’Attilio to play it off like it was a minor thing, saying “All the victims were OK,” just goes to show the integrity of this man and his company. He obviously doesn’t have much. One passenger died at the scene and three were critically injured. When I arrived there was debris everywhere. People were screaming. The fuselage was crumpled like a tin can. The male passenger who died was in the forward passenger seat, which hit the ground first as the helicopter flipped over after hitting the Kamani trees.

He clearly died of severe impact.

I was there.

I know.

While the pilot wandered around talking on his cell phone paying no attention to his passengers, residents rushed in to give aid. One of the female passenger’s legs was crushed behind her head. Cutting these people out of the helicopter took time. Surfboards were brought in as makeshift gurneys. Gas fumes were in the air. It was not a pretty scene.

I am sorry for the graphic language, but it is necessary to show how horrible this crash was. The passengers were not “OK” as Mr. D’Attilio says, they were fighting for their lives.

If Mr. D’Attilio so easily lies to the public about the severity of this crash, what else does he lie about? His maintenance?

It makes me wonder …

Mathew Carter


Something doesn’t feel right

For a long, long time the “buzz” and “whirr” of the choppers that flew often too quickly and too low to the ground, on our beautiful island, have bugged the heck out of us — especially after laboring all the way into the Valley on foot and then looking up to a hovering dangerous machine — even when sailing it seems a constant danger. The sudden dip to oogle turtles and whales by a bladed machine does not seem to blend with our title of Marine Sanctuary, much less lure tourism.

Two fatal crashes in three days, and the heartbreak only adds to the danger to we who live here, must now add to our traffic and budget concerns … profit for a few operators looks wrong next to the great loss of loved ones while bringing needless noise to us all in the calamities of the past week.

Maybe it’s time to re-think this part of tourist attractions on our blessed Garden Island. Somehow helicopters full of tourists whirling out of control in the sky above us, five fatal times now over the past three years … hmmmmmm.

Seems wrong … yes?

I guess it’s just a matter of time until the next one. Using choppers in emergencies, fires,etc., is one thing. Flinging dangerous machinery through the air above children playing is a different matter … I used to be a travel agent, but many years ago stopped booking helicopter tours here.

It just didn’t feel right.

Su Haynes


Get thee, to the ballot box

In KIUC Elections, 20,000 ballots are sent out, only 6,000 votes are cast and 14,000 ballots remain unused.

With as little as 2,000 votes, anyone can become a director. In small elections like this, a couple dozen votes can make a world of difference — exactly the difference we need to make on Kaua‘i.

KIUC needs our help to shine. They can’t do it themselves. We need to “stuff” the ballot box with so many beams of sunlight they have no choice but to adopt a comprehensive solar strategy. Otherwise they will just keep burning diesel. If you like that — do nothing — cause that is the course we are already on.

As a pono citizen of the island, you may have already voted for aggressive, creative and comprehensive solar-based sustainable energy policy for KIUC. But what about your friends?

Did they vote yet?

You know where they live. Track them down. Get them to vote too. Follow up later with a phone call. It matters. Time is short. Don’t delay, do it today.

If you want to help KIUC find more pa ana a ka la (sunshine), these are three candidates worth supporting:

• Carol Bain: for her commitment to the “Sunshine Law” for co-op openness and member participation.

• Peter Theilen: for his commitment to solar power by seeking solar hot water panels for all at bulk discount.

• Allan Smith: for his sunshine-bright idea to address the demand side of the grid.

All ballots must be received at KIUC tomorrow, Saturday, March 17, by noon to be valid.

Ainoyukea. Anyunoaikea too.

Jonathan Jay

Member of Apollo Kaua‘i

No justice in this case

So Lisa Wilson gets a life sentence of pain and limited mobility and Byron Say gets to cop a plea?? Where is the justice in this? Why is he, with his extensive record of wreaking havoc all over our roadways, eligible for anything but an extended stay in jail?

This mess would have been better handled by Judge Judy! This has been nonsense from the start. It should not have taken almost two years to get to trial, he should not have been out on bail, driving wasted, evading capture multiple times,

AND he should have had to make restitution to Lisa for all the anguish she’s endured.

There has been no justice in any segment of this case.

All we can do is hope that next time, and there will be a next time, he doesn’t kill someone we love. He has learned nothing from his arrests except how to post bail and how to play the system.

There is no sense in waiting for justice, not in our courts and not for Lisa. What will it take to put him away where he belongs?

Charmaine Madden



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