One of the Honolulu Fire Department’s rescue helicopters is back in service after a monthlong grounding for maintenance and service work.
In June the Fire Department’s search and rescue operations were conducted by helicopters flown and maintained by the Honolulu Police Department.
David Jenkins, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said maintenance and service work on one of two HFD helicopters was completed, and it was returned to service Saturday night.
The second helicopter will be fully serviced and is expected to be back in the air within two months, Jenkins said.
“We still have the Police Department’s helicopter if we need it,” Jenkins said,
An inspection by the department’s service contractor in April revealed more extensive wear and tear to the HFD helicopters than expected.
The Fire Department has ordered spare parts for its existing helicopters so that future maintenance can be performed without lengthy waiting times.
The HFD also has begun discussions with the city to purchase a new helicopter. Planning, contract specifications, design and construction of a new helicopter could take a few years to complete. HFD has said a new helicopter could cost between $3 million and $6 million.
Company fined for giving tours of lava fields
A Hawaii island company has been fined $9,100 for conducting unpermitted tours of the lava fields from Kilauea Volcano near the Puu Oo Trail, which has been closed since 2007 by the state Department fo Land and Natural Resources.
At the board’s meeting Friday, Ahiu Hawaii LLC was hit with administrative and civil penalties for advertising and conducting commercial activities in Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve, which is home to an active lava flow.
The company was issued its first cease-and-desist order on Sept. 30, 2013, according to a staff report. The company, which did not have a permit to conduct hiking tours, advertised lava flow tours costing from $155 to $195.
The company, managed by Orion Enocencio, has 10 business days to submit a written request for a contested hearing.
The board in May 2014, after several cease-and-desist notices had been issued, denied Enocencio’s application to lead commercial hiking trips into the reserve because it is closed to public access.
On July 23 the Hawaii Fire Department responded to a distress call from within the reserve that involved a woman who had sprained her ankle while on a hiking tour with two Ahiu Hawaii guides. GPS coordinates were taken of the helicopter extradition point and indicated that they were in the closed Kahaualea reserve area, the staff report said.