Helicopter Crash Site Difficult to Access

The wreckage of last Thursday’s helicopter crash proves difficult for investigators to reach, reports The Maui News. The terrain and jungle canopy make efforts to retrieve materials nearly impossible.

The crash took place on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, known for playing the fictional location of Jurassic Park. The helicopter carried six tourists in addition to the pilot on a sightseeing flight along the Na Pali Coast.

The tour ended in tragedy when the helicopter struck a cliff face about a mile inland and dropped 150 to 300 feet. Police report all 7 aboard perished in the accident.

Helicopter Crash Victims

The six passengers aboard consisted of three adults and three minors. Four presently unnamed passengers from Switzerland were related, and two were young girls aged 10 and 13. The other two passengers, Amy Gannon, 47, and Jocelyn Gannon, 13, traveled from Wisconsin for vacation.

Paul Matero, 69, piloted the craft. The owner of Safari Helicopters, the company offering the flying tour, released a statement referring to Matero as a “seasoned member of their team” with 12 years experience on the island that proved his death site.

The day the helicopter crashed, choppy seas, rain, and low visibility coupled with steep terrain hampered efforts. The remote and difficult terrain continues to pose a formidable obstacle in the effort to reach the site. Thick jungle canopies and cliffs make it nearly inaccessible.

As a result, taking the wreckage elsewhere for study seems unlikely. “I don’t know if that will be possible in this case,” Eric Weiss, spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board, said. Therefore, federal investigators have begun their investigation remotely.

Part of the investigation will encompass fault. Federal Aviation Administration records reveal 4 previous incidents with Safari Helicopters, though none contained serious injuries. However, the company received 11 enforcement actions since 1994.

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