Lihue, HI Tour Helicopter Crashes, June 1998
TOUR HELICOPTER CRASHES.
Lihue, Hawaii (AP) -- A helicopter showing tourists Kauai Island crashed on a mountainside and authorities couldn't get to the rugged site to determine if the six people on board were alive or dead.
The craft belonging to Ohana Helicopters took off at 8:30 a.m. Thursday with five passengers and a pilot and was to return within 50 minutes. Ohana reported the AeroStar AF-350 helicopter missing three hours later.
A signal eventually was received from an emergency locator transmitter on the downed helicopter, Coast Guard spokesman David Santos said.
The search led to Mount Waialeale, where wreckage was seen at an elevation of 2,300 feet.
Rugged terrain and poor weather kept authorities from reaching the site, but the four adults and two children aboard were feared dead. A Navy crew spotted the wreckage.
"They could see three people motionless on the ground, and they did not believe that they were alive," Coast Guard spokesman Matthew Wheeler said.
Weather was believed to have been a factor in the crash. Mount Waialeale, where more than 440 inches of rain fall each year, is America's wettest spot and it was rainy and foggy at the time of the flight. Kauai is about 100 miles northwest of Oahu, home to Honolulu.
It was the first fatal helicopter crash in Hawai this year. Last year, three crashes killed four people.
List of fatalities:
CHARLES LOWE, pilot.
REBECCA MUSE, age 9.
ANDREW YANG, age 10.
Ottawa Herald Kansas 1998-06-26