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Multiple helicopter crashes kill five within 4 days
by Blake Jones – The Garden Island
Two helicopter crashes resulted in the deaths of five in a matter of four days last spring.
The male pilot of a Heli-USA A-Star tour helicopter was among the four people who died March 8. Three survivors of the accident at the Princeville Airport were critically injured.
On March 11, 2007, one person died and three were injured when a helicopter violently spun out of control before it crashed near the YMCA-Camp Nauea in Ha‘ena.
That accident involved a Hughes 500 owned by Inter-Island Helicopters, which assists the county on aerial rescue operations in addition to running tours of the island.
Nearing the end of a sightseeing tour, the helicopter lost its tail rotor and entered into a tight spin, crashing into a YMCA camp, according to a preliminary report the National Transportation Safety Board.
Federal Aviation Administration records show the helicopter was built by McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems in 1987 and was owned by Smoky Mountain Helicopters Inc., doing business as Inter-Island Helicopters.
Judy L. Barton, 51, of Newport, N.H., was paralyzed from the waist down following the March 11 crash. Her husband, Douglas W. Barton, 60, suffered a broken arm.
The New Hampshire couple filed a lawsuit in December 2007 claiming the aircraft’s owner and parts manufacturer used faulty designs and substandard materials.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.
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