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PHOTO UPDATE: Helicopter Crashes in Sacred Falls Park

April 16, 2019, 12:59 PM HST
* Updated April 16, 5:16 PM
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UPDATE: April 16, 2019, 3:54 p.m.

Sacred Falls helicopter crash on April 16, 2019. PC: DLNR

Sacred Falls helicopter crash on April 16, 2019. PC: DLNR

Sacred Falls helicopter crash on April 16, 2019. PC: DLNR

Sacred Falls helicopter crash on April 16, 2019. PC: DLNR

Sacred Falls helicopter crash on April 16, 2019. PC: DLNR

The DOFAW employee and the two members of the Pacific Rim Conservation Team had finished their deployment of seabird song meters and had just been picked up. The DOFAW employee reports that shortly after flight began the pilot had to put the helicopter into auto rotate. He credits the pilot with extraordinary skill in bringing the aircraft down and avoiding serious injury. He says they were close to making it to a clearing with a flat-landing zone, before the crash.

UPDATE: April 16, 2:13 p.m.

A helicopter under contract to the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) crashed Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in a gully in Sacred Falls State Park on O‘ahu. One passenger has a bruised arm but otherwise the pilot and the other two passengers were not hurt. All of them hiked out of the area to meet emergency responders. All four people declined medical treatment and are being transported back to Honolulu by a DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officer.

The chopper was ferrying one DOFAW employee and two representatives from Pacific Rim Conservation, a non-profit organization that conducts field work on behalf of DOFAW, into the adjacent Kaluanui Natural Area Reserve to deploy seabird song meters, which record bird sounds for population studies. One of the passengers reports that the helicopter landed upside down in the gulch with both its main rotor and tail rotor severed from the aircraft frame. He described the helicopter as destroyed.

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Marigold Zoll DOFAW O‘ahu Branch Manager said, “We follow a stringent set of safety protocols and one of these protocols is known as “flight-following,” which resulted in the incident being reported very quickly. We are thankful everyone walked away from this accident.”

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ORIGINAL POST: April 16, 1 p.m.

A helicopter under contract to the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) made a hard landing on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in a remote area of the Kaluanui Natural Area Reserve above Sacred Falls on O‘ahu. The pilot and all three passengers were not injured and are currently hiking out of the area. Both the Honolulu Fire Department and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement are responding, though none of the people involved is requiring medical attention.

The chopper was ferrying one DOFAW employee and two representatives from Pacific Rim Conservation, a nonprofit organization that conducts field work on behalf of DOFAW, into the NAR to deploy seabird song meters, which record bird sounds for population studies.

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Marigold Zoll DOFAW O‘ahu Branch Manager said, “We follow a stringent set of safety protocols and one of these protocols is known as “flight-following,” which resulted in the incident being reported very quickly. We are thankful everyone walked away from this without injury.”

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