Witness Says Visibility Low Where Copter Crashed

KOKE`E, KAUA`I (Ben Caxton) — A team investigating the crash of a tour helicopter on the north coast has been told by a witness who was in the area at the time that visibility was only about 20 feet because of fog and rain. That information was included in a preliminary accident report released Wednesday. The information came from a person hiking a trail Koke`e State Park just a mile and a half from the crash site who was not identified by name. He told investigators that he heard a hovering helicopter followed by a high-pitched whine. The helicopter hit a ridge at an altitude of 3,003 feet then fell about 100 feet with the wreckage was consumed by fire. The closest official weather station, about 9 miles southwest of the crash site, confirmed rain and clouds moved in during the time between last contact with the pilot and when it crashed. About 30 minutes after that last radio transmission with the helicopter, the weather station reported overcast clouds at 3,000 feet with wind and rain. The NTSB report also said that the helicopter’s pilot was on his eighth and final scheduled 50-minute tour flight of the day.

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