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No sign of survivors in Hawaii helicopter crash

December 27, 2019

The chopper failed to return from a tour of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, with seven people aboard. The remains of six people have been found, and the weather conditions in the area were said to be challenging.

Hawaii Kauai, Na Pali Coast
Image: picture-alliance/Colorado Springs Gazette/Newscom/B. Newsome

Rescue authorities said Friday they had found the remains of six people in a mountainous area on the island of Kauai after a tour helicopter with seven people on board went missing off the coast of Hawaii.

The search for the last person has been suspended until Saturday morning due to heavy fog. Officials said there are no indications that anyone survived. The helicopter had been heading to one of the island state's most rugged coastlines.

The families of the victims whose bodies were recovered have been notified. Their names have not been released. 

Rescue efforts challenged by low visibility

The search for the chopper began on Thursday evening, but low visibility, rain and choppy seas in the remote north of Kauai island has made rescue efforts challenging. 

"Those conditions are not ideal,'' Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir said.

The helicopter was carrying a pilot and six passengers from two families, two of whom were believed to be minors, a statement from the Coast Guard said.

A boat and a helicopter were sent to scour the area when the helicopter company raised the alarm, around 40 minutes after the tour of Kauai's Na Pali Coast was due back on Thursday evening, the statement added.

"We have trained crews responding and on scene searching for any signs of the helicopter and those aboard," said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, according to local media.

Cleaning the Pacific garbage patch

The chopper has an electronic locator on board but no signals had been received, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard helicopter and crew are being supported by the US Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 at Kaneohe Bay.

A Coast Guard vessel and crew were also launched from Honolulu.

Helicopter tours are common along the island's stunning northern coast. 

kp,cw,mm/kl (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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