Haena Residents Call For Helicopter Industry Overhaul

Richard Gill
Richard Gill
Louise Sausen
Louise Sausen

HAENA, KAUAI (KHNL) - "As I watched it, it spun more and more rapidly and was coming down at a really fast rate," said Richard Gill, a Haena resident.

Gill was mowing his lawn, when he witnessed the crash. He rushed over to the YMCA field, where the wrecked Inter-Island helicopter ended up.

"A number of us were there, trying to help these people," he said.

Residents are still in shock.

"I'm still numb," said Louise Sausen, a Haena resident who lives just yards away from the crash site. "I don't know what feelings I have."

They say part of the problem is helicopters constantly dot the sky.

"Over the years, it's like I live in a Vietnam War zone," said Sausen. "It's all I hear: helicopters all day long."

But since Sunday's crash, they're enjoying a rare luxury: silence. And they hope for some major changes in the helicopter tour industry.

"I think they need to look at routing them in areas so that they can do scenic trips, but they don't have to do it right above neighborhoods," said Gill.

"We just have too much helicopters," said Sausen. "There's just too much. Maybe just cut back on helicopters. For me, I would rather not hear them or see them."

Folks at Kauai hope the helicopter tour industry listens, and looks at the big picture.

"They need to consider the concerns of the community," said Gill. "They need to consider how they can improve their procedures to have adequate safety measure going on in their maintenance."

Improve to prevent future tragedies.

The National Transportation Safety Board moved the Inter-Island helicopter wreckage to Lihue Airport Tuesday afternoon. No word on when the preliminary investigation will be completed.