Helicopter makes emergency landing

LIHUE — A helicopter on a sight-seeing tour experienced engine trouble and made a controlled “soft landing” on a taro patch Friday afternoon.

According to Kauai County spokeswoman Sarah Blane, Hanalei firefighters responded about 1:30 to a report of a sudden helicopter landing on to a taro patch in Waipa. Initial reports noted there were no injuries to the pilot or his two passengers.

“The company’s mechanic is on scene and estimates they’ll be able to fly the chopper back to its Lihue base today,” Blane said.

Chantelle Carveiro, Kauai-based manager of Mauna Loa helicopters, said one of their four seat Robinson R-44 tour helicopters was on a standard tour of the Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast when it began experiencing trouble.

“There were no injuries, and everybody is OK,” Carveiro said. “We don’t know full details yet, but we do know that the pilot was experiencing a power interruption and was able to make a controlled landing on to private property on the North side.”

The passengers were returned to Lihue via ground transportation, she said. The pilot remained on scene with a mechanic to make an assessment of the problem, and if necessary, to prepare the helicopter for transport back to Lihue.

There have been no prior incidents with Mauna Loa helicopters on Kauai, according to Carveiro.

The two remaining Mauna Loa helicopters remained in operation Friday.


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