Hawaii tour helicopter with 7 aboard is missing, search underway


Three people were killed when a helicopter crashed on Oahu in April. One pilot and six passengers were on board.

The weather conditions in the area were considered challenging, Hawaii News Now reported.

Further searches are scheduled with a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane and crew and a fresh Dolphin helicopter crew at first light if needed.

'The weather conditions are challenging, ' said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, from the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu.

The Eurocopter AS350 helicopter took off from the town of Lihue, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Friday. The Coast Guard Cutter William Hart and its crew were also sent to the island.

According to the release, clouds and rain at the scene rendered visibility at 4 miles (6.4 kilometers), with winds at 28 mph (45 kmph).

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The chopper has an electronic locator on board but no signals have been received, the Coast Guard said. Friday's forecast predicted winds were at about 37kmh.

They later requested support from U.S. Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 in Kaneohe Bay, according to the press release.

Local fire officials planned to launch their own search efforts. Kauai's natural beauty is accessed or viewed daily by visitors aboard helicopters from several tour companies depending on the weather.

"There are beaches along the Nā Pali coastline, but we are experiencing periods of very high water, so exactly how much beach may be available I couldn't tell you", Muir said.

Almost 80 percent of Kauai is uninhabited, and much of that is a state park.