Family, friends mourn Canadian teen killed in tour helicopter crash
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 16-year-old boy who died in a tour chopper that crashed into Pearl Harbor has been identified as Riley Dobson of Ontario, Canada.
Dobson died Monday, four days after the accident.
On Tuesday, flags at Dobson's school, Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute, flew at half-staff.
"The Upper Grand was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of one of our students and our heart goes out to the family," said Heather Loney, with the district school board.
Dobson was on vacation with his family in Hawaii. He was one of five people inside the Genesis tour helicopter when it plunged into the water Thursday morning near the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center.
The Dobson family issued this statement Tuesday:
Riley was a gift to our family, an amazing son and brother who touched the lives of everyone he met. While taken from us too soon we have cherished every moment spent with him. Although he will be deeply missed it comforts us to know his legacy will live on through others.
We would like to personally thank everyone who came to our aid after the accident and all those who have been sending their thoughts and prayers. We would also like to thank the physicians, nurses and staff at Pali Momi Medical Centre for the exceptional medical care and support they provided our family during this difficult time.
Friends and classmates remembered Dobson as a competitive equestrian rider who could light up a room.
"The whole class kind of just went silent when we heard the news of what happened," said one student.
"There's people crying in the school and ... it's touched everyone i think," another student said.
Jeff Gebhard, owner of Genesis Helicopters, also offered his condolences:
We continue to be at a loss for words as no words can express the absolute heartache and sorrow we're feeling at the passing of their son. As a parent, I can only imagine the indescribable loss they're experiencing right now. We are beyond devastated. We can only express that our constant thoughts and the deepest of our condolences are with his family and all of those that have been affected by this tragedy.
Two other family members remain in stable condition and continue to receive care at Pali Momi Medical Center.
The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the crash.
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