HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The pilot of a tour helicopter that crashed into waters just off the Arizona Memorial visitors last Thursday said he felt a vibration and heard a "grinding noise" before the chopper went down, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board report said the pilot of the Bell-206B helicopter, operated by Genesis Aviation, also heard a loud bang. He then scanned the instrument panel and saw that the engine was still running but that the rotor's revolutions per minute appeared to be decreasing.
He planned to land at a grassy area near Contemplation Circle at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, but saw multiple people standing in the area and tried to redirect the helicopter before it suddenly descended into the water, the report said.
The helicopter was submerged in approximately 40 feet of water about 20 feet from the shoreline. All major structural components have been recovered and moved to a secure location for further examination.
The pilot and a family of four from Canada were on board the chopper when it crashed about 10:30 a.m. A 16-year-old boy passenger later died from his injuries.
Several witnesses said they saw smoke coming from the helicopter's tail shortly before it went down.