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Fatal Helicopter Crash Raises Questions of Safety

Seven people died in a Kauai, Hawaii helicopter crash, including a 47-year-old woman from Madison, Wisconsin and her eighth grade daughter.  This tragedy has placed helicopter tours under increased scrutiny.  This latest accident is but one in a string of deadly helicopter crashes, leading safety advocates to call for increased oversight and improved safety precautions.  In addition to the mother and child, the pilot and a Swiss family perished in the accident. 

Earlier this year, three people died in an Oahu helicopter crash, and 11 were killed in a skydiving plane crash north of Hawaii. Over the last decade, 9 sightseeing crashes have occurred, including 3 where fatalities occurred.

Critics are blaming the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for failing to take safety improvements seriously and not properly regulating the industry. 

A Hawaii U.S. Representative noted “Tour helicopter and small aircraft operations are not safe, and innocent lives are paying the price,” and pointed to incidents of helicopter operators ignoring suggested improvements. In the upcoming weeks and months, the FAA will review the tour company’s safety record and the policies and practices it employed in this flights. 

Following the recent skydiving accident, the NTSB recommended the FAA implement safety improvements.  Despite these efforts, helicopters taking sightseeing tours face challenges, with Hawaii’s distinct topography, including deep ravines, large waterfalls and thick jungle foliage.  The topography combined with unpredictable weather patterns make these trips especially dangerous. 

This accident remains under investigation.

For more information or if you have sustained any type of injury in a sightseeing accident, please contact the dedicated Hawaii personal injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.