UPDATE: Crews Work to ID Molokai Helicopter Crash Victims
By Wendy Osher
The victims of today’s tour helicopter crash on Molokai have been identified as three males (one of them the pilot) and two females.
No names are being released at this time, pending notification of next of kin.
The chaplain for the Maui Police Department is on scene at Blue Hawaiian helicopters, and is working with the company employees during this time of grief.
The Maui Visitor’s Bureau is also assisting by working with the victim’s families.
Authorities say five people aboard the craft were on a our hour tour of West Maui and Molokai when the crash occurred at around 12:14 p.m.
The pilot crashed into the mountain ridge on the east end of Molokai, and off of Kamehameha V Highway, according to officials with the Maui Fire Department.
The site was also just mauka of the nearby Kilohana school, but no injuries were reported there, according to Ryan Piros, County Communications Assistant Director.
Firefighters said the crash caused a brush fire upon impact, but flames were limited to the crash site only. Weather conditions in the area, according to fire officials, consist of rain and a lot of wind.
Lt. Wayne Ibarra with the Maui Police Department, said emergency responders were able to access the area on foot to recover the bodies. Access to the area is currently limited to ATVs.
A total of five people were aboard the Blue Hawaiian tour helicopter according the company’s flight manifest.
County officials say the final body was recovered from beneath the wreckage.
A joint investigation has been launched by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.