Coast Guard helicopter crash leaves 3 dead, 1 missing

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A Coast Guard helicopter crash leaves three passengers inside dead, while the other is still missing.

It happened about six miles south of the airport near Sand Island around 8:15 p.m. Thursday night.

Land, air, water, it's a massive rescue effort.

"We've dispatched both our rescue companies, our fire boat and our helicopter," said Honolulu Fire Department Official Capt. Terry Seelig.

What was supposed to be a routine coast guard training went wrong as a HH-65 Dolphin helicopter carrying two officers and two crew members crashed six miles south of the airport. Family of a coast guard member rush to this makeshift command post fearing the worst.

"She's got three little ones she's worried about it, not to know where dad is, so we're out here trying to support," said Family member Derek Pavao.

A boat taking part in the same training saw the whole thing and helped rescuers find the wreckage. Sources confirm three of the passengers dead.

" As we speak we have three of the four, we are looking for the fourth," said Cpt. Seelig.

"This is a very difficult case because as I say the rescuers are being rescued," said Coast Guard Commander Manson Brown.

On a night with typical weather conditions, rescuers face difficulties of darkness and fatigue and suspend their search after more than five hours, hoping daylight will land rescue crews greater success in their search for the fourth passenger.

Officials say the Honolulu Police Department, Fire Department, Coast Guard and other emergency agencies are all aiding in the search.

There's no word on what caused the crash.