Wreckage of Missing Tour Helicopter on Kaua‘i Found

December 27, 2019, 12:40 PM HST (Updated December 27, 2019, 1:54 PM)
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The crash site of a helicopter missing out of Kaua‘i since Thursday afternoon has been located, officials confirmed Friday afternoon.

The aircraft was found in Kōke‘e near Nu‘alolo. Seven individuals were on the flight, including one pilot and six passengers. Additional resources are on the way and the search for survivors is ongoing.

“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.”

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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.

Upon notification, a multi-agency search was launched Thursday night with the US Coast Guard responding via air and sea, and personnel from the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Kaua‘i Police Department, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawai‘i Air National Guard, and Pacific Missile Range Facility joining the effort on land. However, there have been no sign of the helicopter.

Search operations continued early Friday morning with air searches being conducted by the Kaua‘i Fire Department, Kauai Police Department, the US Coast Guard, the US Navy, Civil Air Patrol, and private helicopter companies. The US Coast Guard is also continuing its sea-based search. A land and shoreline is also being coordinated at this time.

Updates on the search will be provided as information becomes available.

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