Tour Chopper Found in Tall Grass After Hard Landing in Pāhoa

March 5, 2020, 4:11 PM HST
* Updated March 5, 4:16 PM
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Six people were taken to Hilo Medical Center after tour helicopter they were on made a precautionary landing in Pāhoa.

At approximately 11:35 a.m. Thursday, the Hawai‘i Fire Department received a report of a chopper, later identified as a Blue Hawaiian tour helicopter, performing an emergency landing on conservation land. Upon arrival, crews found the aircraft on its side in tall grass and five occupants and the pilot had self-extricated.

All individuals on the helicopter were taken by ambulance to the hospital. Only minor injuries were reported. Fire crews were back at their quarters by 2:19 p.m.

The chopper launched from Hilo for a “Circle of Fire” tour. A company spokesperson said the pilot chose to make a cautionary landing during the tour.

Hawai‘i Fire Battalion Chief William Bergin said the pilot reported a light coming on during the flight, indicating an issue with the tail rotor.


Blue Hawaiian released the following statement from President Quentin Koch in regards to the incident:


“On March 5, a Blue Hawaiian aircraft was in flight near the Leilani Estates area when the pilot conducted a precautionary landing. The helicopter had launched from the Hilo base on the “Circle of Fire” tour. The five passengers on board and the pilot are safe.

The safety of our passengers and pilot are always our top priority, and the pilot’s decision to safely land the aircraft is always the right decision. Local emergency services were called and we have notified the FAA and NTSB. We are committed to working closely with both the FAA and NTSB.”

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