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Hirono Seeks Answers After Deadly Helicopter Crash

Sen. Mazie Hirono

A Hawai?i senator is asking federal transportation officials for detailed information about helicopter accidents in the state, including a deadly crash in Kailua last month.

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono sent letters Tuesday to National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt and Federal Aviation Administration acting administrator Dan Elwell, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

The request for information about helicopter accidents in Hawaii in the last five years and follow-up with air tour companies follows an April 29 crash on Oahu that killed a pilot and two passengers.

The helicopter crashed on a street in a residential neighborhood of Kailua, 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Honolulu.

The NTSB is leading the crash investigation, while the FAA regulates helicopter operations.

Hirono's wants a detailed history of problems associated with the Robinson R44 helicopter model that crashed.

The Robinson R44 is the best-selling civilian helicopter, but also has a long history of deadly crashes, the Star-Advertiser reported, citing a 2018 investigation by the Los Angeles Times.

Hirono also requested "an accounting of all air tour accidents and unintended landings in Hawaii for the last five years, the findings, recommendations and requirements" from each of event.

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