HONOLULU (AP) — A person who was near a remote Hawaii site where a tour helicopter crashed and killed seven people on Dec. 26 told investigators that visibility was only about 20 feet at the time because of fog and rain, according to a preliminary accident report released Wednesday.
The unidentified person was on a hiking trail in Koke’e State Park on Kauai island and described hearing a hovering helicopter followed by a high-pitched whine, the National Transportation Safety Board report said.
The person was about 1.5 miles away from the remote mountain ridge where the helicopter went down. The witness tried to look for the helicopter but could not because of the weather conditions and fading daylight, the report said.
The typical route to Upper Mic followed by Safari Helicopters pilots conducting tours of the island of Kauai is depicted along with the approximate accident site and witness locations.
Courtesy: Brice Banning/NTSB
The NTSB report also said that the helicopter’s pilot was on his eighth and final scheduled 50-minute tour flight of the day.
Officials have said the helicopter hit the ridge at an altitude of 3,003 feet then fell about 100 feet. The report said the wreckage was consumed by fire.
The tour included the pilot and two families, one from Switzerland and another from Madison, Wisconsin. Three minors and four adults died in the crash.
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