Wreckage of a Hawaii tour helicopter with 7 people aboard found, 6 dead


KAUAI, HI (ABC News) — A Hawaii tour helicopter carrying seven people that hadn’t been heard from in more than 24 hours was found, police announced on Friday evening.

The chopper, which had six passengers, including two children, and the pilot aboard, was off Nā Pali Coast and scheduled to return Thursday at 5:21 p.m., according to the Coast Guard. It did not report back to the base and last made contact at 4:30 p.m. when the pilot announced that they were leaving the Waimea Canyon area, according to a press release issued by the Kaua’i Police Department.

The wreckage of the Safari Helicopter Tours company was found in Kōke‘e near Nu‘alolo, officials said.

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these passengers,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. “Operations continue and we are doing everything we can at this time.

Officials said weather conditions in the area might factor into the search, but trained crews are on the scene searching for any signs of the helicopter and the seven aboard, said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center Honolulu.

A press conference Friday with Kawakami, Kaua‘i Fire Department Battalion Chief Sol Kanoho, Kaua‘i Police Chief Todd Raybuck confirmed the crash was deadly: the remains of six people have been found.

Authorities say there were likely no survivors.

The wreckage of the chopper was found Friday at the top of a mountain on the island of Kauai.

The helicopter is equipped with an electronic locator, but officials said that no signals had been received. Nearly 80 percent of Kauai is uninhabited, and much of that is a state park that most helicopter tours include as a point of interest.

Photo: A stretch of cliffs, Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai, Hawaii, in 2003.A stretch of cliffs, Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai, Hawaii, in 2003.De Agostini via Getty Images

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