Report details helicopter crash - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Report details helicopter crash

Rear Addm. Manson Brown Rear Addm. Manson Brown
Capt. Jack Vogt Capt. Jack Vogt
Susan Wishmeier Susan Wishmeier

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Coast Guard's detailed report of a September 4, 2008, accident said the crew of the fatal flight faced "extreme circumstances."

"We will learn the lessons of CG 6505," Rear Addm. Manson Brown said.

During a night rescue training exercise, the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter lowered a stainless steel cable to a lifeboat. But slack in the line tangled on a pipe fitting. The report said when the boat dropped down a wave the cable tightened then suddenly snapped.

"It takes a lot of force for it to snap," Brown said. "When it snaps you get a whipsaw effect."

The report said the chopper tilted to the left, causing the rotor blades to hit the hoist boom. The impact threw the helicopter off balance and badly damaged the rotor. The pilot regained some control and radioed a distress call.

"This happened so fast that I'm not sure any crew would have been able to fully recover in a way that would have prevented damage to the aircraft," Capt. Jack Vogt said.

The report said three minutes and fifteen seconds after the cable broke and the rotor was damaged the helicopter crashed into the sea..

Crewmen David Skimin, Joshua Nichols, Andrew Wischmeier and Thomas Nelson were killed.

"They fought. They wanted to get home. They saw land. And I know my husband. He would have thought if anybody can get this helicopter home, I can," Susan Wishmeier said.

The report ends a year-long investigation by the Coast Guard -- a year that's been painful for the families of the victims and the Coast Guard family.

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