NTSB, FAA investigating tour helicopter crash on Hawaii Island that left 6 injured
OCEAN VIEW (HawaiiNewsNow) - The NTSB and FAA are investigating a tour helicopter crash Wednesday on a remote Hawaii Island lava field that sent the pilot and five passengers to the hospital.
The NTSB said the helicopter departed Kona International Airport on a sightseeing tour around 5 p.m. The crash happened about 5:30 p.m. near Ka Lae.
Two people, including a 19-year-old woman, were seriously injured in the crash. Meanwhile, authorities said the pilot was trapped in the wreckage and had to be extricated.
The 19-year-old was airlifted to Kona Community Hospital while the rest were taken by ambulance.
They included: Two other women in their late teens, a 23-year-old man, a 48-year-old man and a 54-year-old man. Their conditions ranged from stable to serious.
The chopper belongs to Paradise Helicopters, which identified the craft as a Bell 407. The aircraft can seat up to seven people total and is designed to be used for both business and public safety purposes.
There was no immediate word on what may have gone wrong.
But the company said it was cooperating with authorities and seeking to assist those involved.
“The care of our passengers, crew members and their families is our highest priority,” said Calvin Dorn, of K&S Helicopters, which operates Paradise Helicopters.
Following the crash, the Hawaii County Fire Department deployed crews by air and by ground.
Authorities said they could not get to the crash site using vehicles because it was more than a mile away from the nearest roadway. Crews had to fly there by helicopter to help the pilot and five passengers.
Paradise Helicopters has had multiple crashes in the past.
In 2019, a Paradise Helicopters aircraft contracted by the state went down near Sacred Falls on Oahu. All four people survived.
In 2013, another Paradise Helicopters chopper made a hard landing in Hilo after the pilot reported engine issues. No one was injured in that incident.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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