Federal investigators looking into Thursday’s deadly tour helicopter crash on Kauai’s north shore are working on plans to extract the wreckage as part of their investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a news release Tuesday.
The crash killed six passengers, including three minors, along with the 69-year-old pilot. That brings to 51 the deaths from crashed tour helicopters since 2000, according to NTSB data.
“The helicopter impacted a ridge at an altitude of 2,900 feet, then fell approximately 100 feet,” the release said. “A post-crash fire consumed much of the aircraft.”
A tour helicopter crashed last Thursday in the Kokee area on Kauai’s north shore.
NTSB photo by Brice Banning
Kauai police identified the names of the last four victims of the crash, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Sylvie, Christophe, Alice and Agathe Winteregg, a Swiss family, died in the crash. Police previously identified Amy and Jocelyn Gannon, as well as Paul Matero, the pilot.
The NTSB has four investigators on Kauai led by Brice Banning, a senior aviation accident investigator with the NTSB. The team is still evaluating how to move the helicopter, which is located in a remote area of the Kokee area.
“In the coming days the wreckage will be moved to a secure location where investigators will conduct a more thorough examination of the recovered evidence,” the NTSB said.
The crash site is difficult to access. Banning flew over the crash site to document its path Monday, according to the news release.
Last Thursday night, the owner of Safari Helicopters, a Lihue-based tour company, reported to the U.S. Coast Guard that the Eurocoptor AS350 B2 was overdue from a flight.
County emergency crews searched for survivors Friday, but later found six sets of remains. The county confirmed all seven deaths Saturday.
A preliminary report by the NTSB is expected in three weeks. A final report, which contains the NTSB’s findings for the probable cause of the crash, is due in 12 to 24 months.
Similar model helicopters were involved in fatal crashes on Kauai in 2005 and 2007, according to NTSB data.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell