The tour helicopter operations in Hawaii are facing significant backlash after a crash on Kauai island killed seven people, which included one pilot and six passengers.
What We Know:
- On Saturday, the Kauai Police Department released some of the crash victim’s names: pilot Paul Matero, 69, of Wailua, Hawaii, and passengers Amy Gannon, 47, and Jocelyn Gannon, 13, of Madison, Wisconsin. The police said the remaining victims were a Swiss family of four, which included two adults and two children.
- KPD Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce expressed his sorrow. “We offer our continued condolences and prayers to the families and friends of the victims…As we continue to search for and recover evidence pertinent to this tragic helicopter crash, we hope to bring some sense of closure to the loved ones of the victims.”
- Ed Case, a Hawaii Representative, called the tour helicopter and small aircraft operations not safe and that it cost the lives of others. “We know this not only because of repeated fatal accidents and other incidents over the years but because the National Transportation Safety Board, responsible for analyzing all such accidents, has placed safety improvements for such operations on its highest priority list. We further know that the Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for regulating our nation’s airspace, has not taken the NTSB’s concerns seriously…Finally, we know that the tour helicopter and small aircraft industry itself is completely incapable of self-regulation.”
- The FAA conducted regular surveillance on all air tour operators in Hawaii and made sure the companies addressed their issues.
Other recent tour helicopters that crashed in the U.S. include a fatal crash that killed three people who were onboard in Honolulu in April. In March 2018, another tour helicopter crashed in New York City killing five passengers when the aircraft fell into the East River.