The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are continuing to investigate an Ocean View helicopter crash that left six people injured early Wednesday evening (June 8th).
Published by: HIRSC - Hawai'i Island (Hōlualoa) Team
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are continuing to investigate a helicopter crash that left six people injured in a remote location near the Hawaiian Ranchos Subdivision in Ocean View, Ka'ū on Hawai'i Island early Wednesday evening (June 8th).
Officials say the Bell 407 helicopter (owned and operated by K&S Helicopters dba as Paradise Helicopters) took off from the Kona International Airport (KOA) at 5:00 pm Hawai'i Standard Time (HST) on a sightseeing tour of Hawai'i Island and headed south along the Kona Coast prior to the incident. The crash happened approximately 30 minutes into the flight at around 5:29 pm on Wednesday evening in a remote lava field approximately 1.30 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Ranchos Subdivision in Ocean View, Ka'ū.
At the time of the incident, there were a total of five passengers and one crew member aboard the aircraft, all parties were reported to have injuries. Winds around the time of the incident were 16 mph with gusts of 23 mph scattered to broken clouds according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Due to the location of the incident, Hawai'i Fire Department (HFD) Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 were utilized to access the location of a downed helicopter and extricate four of the six passengers (described as a male 23-years-old, a male 48-years-old, a female 18-years-old, and a 19-years-old) safely to a landing zone (LZ) on Menehune Drive in the Hawaiian Ranchos Subdivision, where awaiting HFD Crews and Medics were standing by to continue medical treatment. All four parties were ambulatory and able to safely walk to crews at the LZ. HFD Medics then transported all four parties to Kona Community Hospital, with their conditions listed as fair/stable to serious at the time of transport.
HFD Rescue Crews from Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 continued to work at the crash site to extricate and provide medical treatment to two of the passengers (described as a male 54-years-old and a female 19-years-old), who were reported to have suffered serious injuries as a result of the incident. The 19-year-old female who was seriously injured was transported to the Kona Community Hospital by Chopper 2 while the 54-year-old male was transported by an HFD Medic also to the Kona Community Hospital in serious but stable condition.
The two patients who were seriously injured have since been transferred to other hospitals overnight following initial treatment at Kona Community Hospital. The other four passengers transported to the Kona Community Hospital were since discharged as of late Wednesday evening.
A statement released by Paradise Helicopters late Wednesday evening following the incident, says they are cooperating with authorities in investigating the incident and also was working to assist those affected. As a result of the incident, Paradise Helicopters canceled all scheduled tours and flights on Thursday at all operations on Hawai'i Island and O'ahu as a normal safety practice.
FAA Officials are completing an on-scene investigation and will be working with a salvage company to remove the wreckage from the remote location and bring it to a secured hangar at the Kona International Airport in the coming days for a full inspection and documentation by NTSB Officials.
According to NTSB Officials, they responded to a total of 42 aircraft incidents in Hawai'i since 1997, of which 10 involved Paradise Helicopters with the latest happening in April of 2019 near Sacred Falls Valley in Hau'ula, O'ahu involving a McDonnell-Douglas (MD) 500 helicopter, which that incident left 4 people with minor injuries. Publisher note to mention, that one of the passengers in this incident has filed a lawsuit against Paradise Helicopters and the litigation remains ongoing at this time at last check. The article on that lawsuit can be found here.