Hawaii tour helicopter crash prompts NTSB call for safety inspections

Six people were injured, including two seriously, in a tour helicopter crash in June on Hawaii...
Six people were injured, including two seriously, in a tour helicopter crash in June on Hawaii Island.(Hawaii County Fire Department)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The FAA has issued an advisory for a model of helicopter involved in a Hawaii County crash last June.

The Bell 407 chopper, owned by Paradise Helicopters, went down in a South Point lava field.

Six people were injured in the crash, including three who were in serious condition.

The National Transportation Safety Board is now urging operators of Bell 407 helicopters to inspect the aircraft’s tail boom immediately.

“With hundreds currently in service, the Bell 407 helicopter is a popular model among tour operators, police departments, air ambulance providers, and many others, which is why our finding is so urgent,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy, in a news release.

“We’re calling on regulators to act immediately ― before there’s another accident.”

Bell 407 operators are being alerted to the possibility of the tail boom separating from the fuselage during flight, the exact piece that separated from fuselage in the South point crash back in June.

They’re recommending operators inspect similar hardware and conduct inspections more often.

Right now, operators are only required to check that hardware every 300 flight hours. But regulators say inspections need to be more often.

The helicopter in the Big Island crash underwent an inspection just 114 flight hours before the wreck.

Paradise Helicopters says since the accident in June, they’ve also implemented additional maintenance measures.