Rescuers continue searching for helicopter crash victim for a second day

Chad Saylor
Chad Saylor
Rear Adm. Manson Brown
Rear Adm. Manson Brown

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Rescue crews have worked tirelessly, logging long hours both in the air and at sea searching for that fourth crew member and any answers as to why it happened.

Honolulu's entire Coast Guard family of nearly 1,400 is hurting. With heavy hearts, they're focused on finding the fourth passenger.

Starting at dawn, rescuers are determined on Day Two of their search.

"When you take a look at water temperatures in this area, when you look at sea state, when you take a look at the crew member's swimming abilities, there's a possibility for survival," said Coast Guard Commander Manson Brown.

Rescuers scan a search area of nearly 13.5 miles off the leeward Coast. They find debris of the HH-65 Dolphin and the helicopter's fuselage intact.

Coast Guard officials say preliminary reports show an issue with wires during a typical water rescue training exercise may be the cause of the crash.

"They reel it down to lower the basket and reel it up to raise the basket so that is a wire that connects the basket to the helicopter," said Commander Brown.

As a number of rescue agencies team together, authorities say it's strictly a rescue operation. Commanders will take into consideration outside conditions and the exhaustion of its air and sea response resources before considering this a recovery.

"You take all these factors together and you come up with a reasonable idea of a) have we exhausted our search or b) do we have some more search to go by," said Chief Petty Officer Chad Saylor.

The first U.S. Coast Guard crash since the 80's, officials say it's the first ever anywhere for the re-engined Dolphin model. Three fatalities, one crew member still missing, the search continues for answers to this tragic crash.

The Coast Guard says rescuers will continue their search until Saturday and will then re-evaluate their progress.