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Video recorder recovered from helicopter wreckage

  • courtesy NTSB

Federal investigators have recovered a video recorder from the wreckage of a tour helicopter that crashed Thursday on Molokai, killing all five people aboard, including visitors from Toronto and Pittsburgh.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said the recorder has been sent to the NTSB laboratory in Washington, D.C., for examination.

“It appears to have significant damage so we do not know what information, if any, we will be able to download,” Holloway said Wednesday.

NTSB investigator Dennis Hogenson said the video recorder belonged to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, operator of the tour aircraft that crashed behind Kilohana Elementary School.

Killed were Toronto businessman Stuart Robertson, 50; his companion, Eva Birgitta Wannersjo, 47, an accounting assistant; pilot Nathan Cline, 30, of Kihei; and Pittsburgh honeymooners Michael Todd Abel, 25, and Nicole Belivacqua-Abel, 28.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters routinely records video of its flights and burns them on DVD for possible sale to passengers.

“Brief takes are made of passengers during the tour to capture expressions to what you are seeing,” according to Blue Hawaiian’s website.

“All music, pilot narration and the microphone communication between you and the pilot are recorded.”

Holloway said the helicopter did not have a black box, a voice and flight information recorder that is heat resistant and capable of enduring a high speed impact.

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