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Navy contractor names 4 killed in Kauaʻi helicopter crash

USS Paul Hamilton participates in Koa Kai Sikorsky S-61N twin-engine helicopter
MC2 Daniel Barker/U.S. Navy
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FILE - PACIFIC OCEAN (April 4, 2012) - Boatswain's Mate Seaman Gerald Dekle guides a Sikorsky S-61N twin-engine helicopter as it lands aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) during maritime exercise Koa Kai 12-2. Koa Kai is a semi-annual exercise in the waters around Hawaiʻi designed to prepare independently deploying ships in multiple warfare areas and provide training in a multi-ship environment. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker/Released)

A civilian contractor working for the U.S. Navy on Wednesday disclosed the names of four employees killed when their helicopter crashed on Kauaʻi.

Croman Corp. said 64-year-old Daniel Maurice of Lyle, Washington, was the aircraft's chief pilot.

Three Kauaʻi residents who were on board also were killed. Patrick Rader, 55, was the command pilot. Erika Tevez-Valdez, 42, and Matthew Haider, 44, were mechanics.

Croman said the crew was conducting routine training operations at the Pacific Missile Range Facility under contract with the Navy when their Sikorsky S-61N helicopter crashed shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility is a Navy base on the western edge of Kauaʻi where the military tests missile defense technology and various units conduct exercises.

Croman, which is based in White City, Oregon, has provided commercial air support service to the Navy at the Kauaʻi base since 2007.

Haider was originally from Springfield, Oregon, and lived on Kauaʻi for two years with his wife, said his mother, Penny Haider. He had two children from a previous marriage, she said.

Her son took his job as a helicopter mechanic seriously, she said.

“Matt was a very action-oriented type of person," she said. “Even though this work was intense, he thrived on that intensity.”

Kauaʻi Mayor Derek Kawakami said Tuesday, "First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who were lost this morning in this heartbreaking tragedy. I know there are no words that can express the extent of what you are going through or provide the solace that you need, but please know that our entire community is here for you."

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