Published on Monday, December 30, 2019

Hawaii tour helicopters facing intense scrutiny after deadly crash

Helicopter sightseeing operators in Hawaii and the FAA are coming under increased scrutiny after a deadly crash claimed seven lives.

The chopper was carrying six people from two different families and the pilot.

Passengers included a mother and daughter from Wisconsin and a family of four from Switzerland.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not done enough to implement National Transportation Safety Board safety recommendations after previous crashes, said U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii.

"Tour helicopter and small aircraft operations are not safe, and innocent lives are paying the price," said Case.

According to NTSB aviation accident statistics there has been nine Hawaii helicopter crashes in the past decade, including three which resulted in deaths.

Operator Safari Helicopters is fully cooperating with the NTSA and FAA and said its pilot was well experienced.

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman Dan Dennison said weather may have played a part in the accident and Kauai's topography makes it difficult to find a safe place to land aircraft in an emergency.

"You can have fog and cloud banks that move in very quickly. You can have heavy rain and strong winds that make flying difficult if not impossible at times,'' he said.

"Kauai is incredibly unforgiving terrain. If you lose the engine there's just really no place to land on the tour route that they were flying.''


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