Wreckage Recovery On Hold In Kauaʻi Helicopter Crash Investigation

Jan 3, 2020

Bad weather and rugged terrain are preventing federal investigators from recovering the wreckage of a Kauaʻi tour helicopter that crashed last week. The pilot and all six passengers were killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has suspended recovery operations until the weather clears along the Nā Pali Coast, a spokesman said Thursday.

The NTSB said the chopper hit a ridge before falling 100 feet and bursting into flames. The cause of the December 26th crash hasn't yet been determined. 

The site’s remote location has also complicated matters for investigators. They had been debating whether to examine the wreckage on site or haul it to another location.

But Eric Weiss, NTSB spokesman, said video and detailed photographs of the crash site led investigators to make the call to haul the wreckage out.

“So our investigator feels that that’s enough, that we don’t need to hike through the jungle four to six hours one-way or be short-hauled, which is basically lifted from a helicopter to the site,” said Weiss. “It’s just a safer option to haul the wreckage out and take it to a safe and secure location and allow our folks to examine it.”

Weiss says a preliminary report on what was found at the scene should be out in about two weeks.

The final determination of the cause of the crash will take anywhere from one to two years.