Molokai, HI Coast Guard Helicopter Crash, Jan 1982


Honolulu (UPI) -- The Coast Guard's only woman helicopter pilot was among the three crew members killed when their chopper crashed during a heavy storm on Molokai, officials said Friday.
Lt. COLLEEN CAIN, 29, of Burlington, Iowa, who completed flight training in 1979, was one of the three people killed in the crash during a heavy storm Thursday. Last year she was awarded the Coast Guard's Achievement Medal for resuscitating a 3-year-old boy pulled from the water after a boating accident.
It was not known whether CAIN, who was flying as co-pilot, or the pilot, Lt. Cmdr. HORTON "BUZZ" JOHNSON, of Orange, Calif., was at the controls when their craft slammed into Molokai Ridge in near-zero visibility. The two took turns at the wheel, officials said.
The third crew member killed was Aviation Machinist Mate 2/C DAVID L. THOMPSON, 23, of Sequim, Wash., who was thrown from the chopper on impact. His body was recovered by the Coast Guard.
On Friday the wreck was still dangling precariously on a steep slope at 2,200 feet, and the Coast Guard was uncertain how to extricate the bodies of CAIN and JOHNSON.
Their amphibious HH-52A helicopter had set out in search of a fishing vessel believed sinking with seven persons aboard. The vessel and its crew later were located and towed to safety.
JOHNSON, 34, was a veteran of search-and-rescue missions who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, seldom given in peacetime, for a 1976 rescue of a man who had crashed a light plane on a mountainside in weather similar to that Thursday.
CAIN, a 1974 graduate of the University of Santa Clara, finished the Coast Guard's officer training school at Yorktown, Va.
After flight training, she and another woman, who since left the service, became the Coast Guard's first female helicopter pilots.
The service has one other woman pilot who flies fixed-wing aircraft.

European Stars And Stripes Darmstadt Hesse Germany 1982-01-10