Deadly Hawaii helicopter crash among list of tours gone wrong

There were no survivors of a helicopter crash on Thursday

A deadly helicopter crash in Hawaii on Saturday is the latest helicopter tour gone wrong, including another fatal accident near Honolulu earlier this year.

Officials said Saturday that they believe all seven people on board the helicopter are dead after recovering the remains of six individuals.


Hawaii has seen 18 civilian helicopter crashes since 2015 according to NTSB records, Hawaii News Now reported.

A Hawaii lawmaker warned that tour helicopters and small aircraft operations "are not safe" following the crash.

Coast Guard Cutter William Hart moves toward the Na Pali Coast on the Hawaiian island of Kauai on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, the day after a tour helicopter disappeared with seven people aboard. (MK3 Forest Herring/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

"This is such a deep tragedy, not only for the seven lives feared lost, but that we must confront this reality in Hawaii for the third time in just one year," Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, said in a statement.

Here's a timeline of recent deadly or life-threatening helicopter tours.

December 26, 2019

There were no survivors of a Thursday tour helicopter crash that killed three minors and four adults, officials confirmed Saturday.

The helicopter that was set to tour the rugged Na Pali Coast, the picturesque and remote northern shoreline of Kauai that was featured in the film “Jurassic Park,” crashed on a mountaintop Thursday.

Kauai police confirmed there were no survivors based in part on the nature of the crash and impact damage, officials said in a statement. Recovery efforts were suspended Saturday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration has tour regulations specific to Hawaii operations, a spokesman told FOX Business on Sunday in response to Case's accusations that the FAA did not take National Transportation Safety Board concerns seriously.

"The agency conducts random and regular surveillance on all Hawaii air tour operators, and ensures companies address any issues we may find," the FAA said. "While we are always looking for possible trends, we have not identified issues of concern that are applicable to the industry statewide."

FAA and NTSB are investigating the accident's probable cause, FAA said on Friday.

April 29, 2019

Fire and helicopter parts rained from the sky in a suburban Honolulu community as a tour helicopter crashed and killed all three people aboard, officials and witnesses said. Details of the crash's cause are still unknown.

The crash occurred in Kailua, a town of 50,000 people about a 30-minute drive from downtown Honolulu on April 29.

The crash site was on a two-lane road amid one and two-story homes.


The helicopter, which was built in 2000, is registered to United Helicopter Leasing LLC of Honolulu, according to FAA records. State business records show Nicole Vandelaar as the manager.

A website for the Honolulu tour helicopter company Novictor Helicopters identified Nicole Vandelaar as founder and CEO. The website said she is an expert pilot commercially licensed to fly helicopters and airplanes.

October 23, 2018

The two passengers on a helicopter tour of Oahu in October 2018 thought they were going to die as the aircraft crashed into a sandbar, but they and the pilot survived.

Newly engaged Carli McCounaghy and Adam Barnett were visiting the island from Illinois. Their 57-year-old pilot suffered a medical emergency mid-flight, leading to the crash, according to the company that owns the helicopters. That company -- Novictor -- also owned the chopper flown in April's deadly crash.

March 11, 2018

Only the pilot survived when a helicopter carrying five passengers sightseeing over New York City crashed into the East River more than a year ago.

A passenger's tether caught on a key lever, triggering an emergency landing. The passengers struggled to get out of the harnesses keeping them inside the helicopter for the "doors-off" tour, which let them dangle over the city.

Two victims were declared dead at the scene; three were rushed to nearby hospitals but did not survive.

Response to the crash is still coming together. The NTSB released a report on the crash earlier this month and called on the FAA to stop all "doors-off" helicopter rides like the ones offered by FlyNYON, the company offering the tour.

"We are reviewing the NTSB’s recommendations and will respond as required within 90 days," the FAA told FOX Business on Sunday.

Feb. 18, 2016

A 16-year-old passenger died after being injured in a Pearl Harbor helicopter crash, hospital officials said.

The teen and three family members visiting from Canada were aboard a tour helicopter when it crashed into the water near the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center on Thursday.

In 2018, the NTSB blamed the crash on faulty maintenance.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.