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Legislative push to tighten regulations on helicopter tour operators

Big Island Helicopter Crash 060822
Hawaiʻi County Fire Department
In this photo provided by the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department is the scene where a helicopter crashed in a Big Island lava field on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Six people on board have been safely evacuated from the site, but two are in serious condition, officials said. (Hawaiʻi County Fire Department via AP)

Six people were taken to the hospital following a helicopter crash in Kaʻū on Hawaiʻi Island on Wednesday. The incident involving Paradise Helicopters has safety advocates calling for the governor to sign legislation that would tighten regulations on tour operators.

State Sen. Chris Lee, chair of the Transportation Committee, says that while previous regulatory attempts have fallen short or run afoul of federal law, he believes the bill before Gov. David Ige will help protect the public.

There have been over 20 deaths in recent years, Lee said, but there has not been any significant change in how safety is ensured.

This interview aired on The Conversation on June 9, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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