Two separate helicopter emergencies on same day prompt investigation

Published: Sep. 13, 2013 at 12:52 AM HST
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LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating two separate helicopter emergencies on Kauai Thursday.

The first occurred near Hanapepe, when a Jack Harter tour helicopter was struck by a bird, shattering the windshield. According to the company, the flying glass injured one person. The aircraft landed safely at Burns Field in Hanapepe.  The extent of the person's injuries were not released.

Then at 2 p.m. another helicopter made a hard landing along the Na Pali Coast. The Airborne Aviation helicopter was performing park maintenance when the back part of the aircraft broke off, the FAA says. Three people were on board, and one is hospitalized with unknown injuries. The Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the Kalalau Trail until further notice as the investigation continues.

Late Thursday, the owners of the company, Jim and Suzi Hobbs, issued the following statement:

The helicopter circumstances today on the Napali Coast did not involve a crash or an emergency landing. Initial reports from DLNR staff at the landing zone where the helicopter had just landed said debris flew into the main rotor blades causing some damage to the aircraft. There were 3 people on board including the pilot, the pilot was uninjured and the 2 DLNR crew members on board reported minor injuries.

Our company continues to work with the FAA as is our standard procedure. Based on the preliminary investigation this incident does not appear to be related to a mechanical failure or pilot error.

We are so very grateful that our pilot and passengers are home safely tonight!

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