Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 |
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HONOLULU — The wreckage of a tour helicopter that went missing Thursday evening with seven people on board has been found and six bodies have been recovered, the County of Kauai said late Friday afternoon.
The crash site was has been confirmed in Koke‘e near Nu‘alolo Ridge Trail and Milolii Ridge Road.
The Kauai Fire Department suspended its search for the final missing person at 3:30 p.m. due to fog and poor visibility and it would resume the search Saturday.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these passengers,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. “Operations continue and we are doing everything we can at this time.”
At approximately 6 p.m. Thursday, officials were notified of an overdue Safari Helicopter that was conducting a tour over the Nā Pali area. The helicopter was scheduled to arrive around 5:30 p.m. at the Līhu‘e landing pad. According to a preliminary report, the last contact with the helicopter was made at approximately 4:40 p.m., when the pilot relayed that the tour was leaving the Waimea Canyon area.
The Coast Guard, working with partners, established an incident command post on Kauai in response to the missing commercial helicopter, Friday.
Upon notification, just after 6 p.m. Thursday of the overdue Safari Helicopter, Coast Guard watchstanders at JRCC Honolulu initiated an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, launched a Coast Guard Dolphin aircrew, contacted DoD for HSM-37 Seahawk support, and launched the William Hart.
Kauai Fire Department was contacted and is coordinating ground searches of the shoreline. Barking Sands Security also organized ATV searches of the coastline.
The Dolphin helicopter crew conducted three search patterns for the evening along the northwest portion of Kauai. The HSM-37 Seahawk crew flew a five-hour search of the northwest shoreline area.
Winds, rain and clouds hindered searchers.
While many have wondered about weather conditions at the time of the crash, authorities said that is something they could not confirm.
We always tell friends and family who are visiting the islands…stay out of the helecopters!!
My husband is a captian for a comercial ailine and is completely against helicopters. My three kids and I are forbidden to go on one. We visit Kauai every July and stay in Princeville. We see them fly all over the mountais and the ocean and we dream with being able to see the island from above but not from a helicopter.
My heart goes out to the families of all the passengers and the pilot. I hope there are survivors. We should never lose hope.
Your husband is a commercial airline pilot!? Wow!! I’m an astronaut! I would allow my wife and offspring to ride in a helicopter, but not a hot air balloon. Those are forbidden. It’s interesting that as a pilot, a astronaut pilot btw, there are other pilots who control thier household like I. Woman and children must follow all rules of my household too. Thank your for watching and noting our beautiful Kauai skies. Did you see any birds?
Praying for the missing.
The Seas and Skies are dangerous places during storm weather.
Experienced offshore fishermen in Hawaii will tell you that if the sea looks too rough to go out, then don’t. But there is a more objective determination since it is easy to know wind speed, thus ocean surface turbulence, or rough seas.
That is the weather reports tell ocean going people that the wind is from a certain direction like N.E. is Tradewinds and S.E. would be Kona winds. And of course winds can come from all directions of the compass. Winds are spoken or naked from the direction they come from, that would be where they are formed and from which direction the sea is impacted.
So, often we hear of seas 4’ to 6’ and winds N.E. at 5-15 MPH, and also in Knots, nautical per hour speed and slightly different, greater, than “miles”.
So at variable winds, are usually light, and 5-15 MPH are also not a concern or even when 10-15, and for bigger boats 10-20 wind speed, the fisherman and tour boats have at it and enjoy their efforts.
But the fisherman knows that when the wind speed’s lower # is 15, as in 15-20…or higher lower #, it is time to hang up your fishing gear in the closet and not go out as the sea is too rough, too dangerous. Don’t take a chance…!
So the other day, was it Christmas Eve, we were driving by the airport and it was very stormy with heavy downpours, lots of active clouds, uncertain visibility.
Yet at least some helicopters were were in the sky…seemed scary.
What set of criteria do have helicopters have to not fly due to weather? Seems taking the risk vs. the income is a difficult choice and maybe better regulated by the transportation agency than a small company taking trusting families on board for the last ride of their lives.
Not too many years back parents in 1 helicopter watched another helicopter with their little children on board fly right into Waialeale and kill all on board and the pilot was a 2 week novice to Kauai skies and mountains.
You would think certain wind speeds and or rain intensity or cloud proximity to the ground would prevent helicopters from flying. How often are our mountains covered in clouds, and we see helicopters near to them.
Should set wind speeds, rain intensity, and cloud cover be a Pre set consideration for helicopter flights especially since they are tiny compared to commercial jets, and helicopters can be tossed around in lighter winds. Even airlines cancel flights and ground their aircraft in dangerous conditions.
It was apparent on Christmas Eve that the air was not safe for helicopter travel and if even a layman’s observation proved fatal, shouldn’t the professionals know…even if the lost helicopter had mechanical problems perhaps the problem was magnified by the weather.
Is the helicopter submerged offshore or hidden in the jungle or forest of Kauai…it just can’t disappear can it? Hopefully the aircraft will be found soon, and cause of disappearance will be known, doubtfully they are on Niihau.
Prevention for safety is better regulation, but is the enemy of capitalism.
Unless you are a expert pilot, maybe you should keep your 2 cents to yourself before you make comments like this.
Have some respect for the people on board.
It’s ignorant people like you who should learn to stfu.
Gee Jake and Charlie, have a little compassion for the families.
Sending hugs to the families of these people at this sad time.
This is very sad news. I have known some of the pilots and they are so conscientious. I fat I have placed some in my children’s books for having helped people. I can understand why people would want to fly and enjoy the Napali Coast while vacation. And it would be tough to turn them down.
But we need to protect tourists and our beautiful island at all costs. Too windy, don’t go out. But heaven knows we all pray for the people.
Thanks for your insight. First and foremost, my heart and prayers are with all of the families involved and any others touched by this tragic event. I am wondering, for anyone who knows, what are the regulations for fly/no fly decisions and who makes them? I have been booked for helicopter tours on Kauai and have had them cancelled due to weather conditions on seemingly ‘OK’ days. I thought they were being very safe. But after reading your comments, I’m not so sure. Again, my heart goes out to all.
There is much speculation and commenting on what may or many not have happened, but surely anyone even slightly acquainted with Safari Helicopters knows that for decades they have safely and efficiently provided a wonderful travel experience for thousands without nary a mishap. Sometimes things just happen, and for a society that is perfectly comfortable driving cars, taking multiple medications, vaping or drinking alcohol — all riskier than flying in a helicopter — it requires perspective. My heart goes out to all the families and parties involved.
I should have known only on Kauai do we have people so ignorant, disrespectful, stupid AH’S that could not zip the lips over this terrible accident. And the worst part TGI prints this crap so the family’s of all deceased can read all the lovely things you all have said and the sad part it’s probably the biggest disaster to be in their lives. I hope you are all proud of what you said for these people. It’s really simple if you don’t have something that helps the thoughts and losses of the family’s then keep you FN lips shut.
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