Oahu Realtor Keiko Kuroki has been identified by her employer, Locations LLC Diamondhead, as the passenger who died along with pilot Gary Galiher in a crash on Molokai.
Scott Higashi, president and CEO of Locations, issued the following statement:
“We are all saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Keiko Kuroki. She was an important member of our team and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this most difficult time.”
Dan Richards, Locations director of marketing, said Kuroki, the mother of at least one adult son, is originally from Japan and was employed by Locations since 2005.
Richards described her as an exceptional mother and a person that many aspired to be like.
“She was passionate and gave her clients the best,” he said. ”Right now we’re reeling from the loss. We’re trying to be as supportive as possible with her family and friends.”
National Transportation Safety Board officials are expected to arrive in Honolulu today to investigate the wreckage from the helicopter crash that killed prominent attorney Galiher and Kuroki.
Investigators from Anchorage, Alaska, are likely to start their work Friday, said Allen Kenitzer, spokesman of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Meanwhile, the Maui Fire Department’s Air 1 helicopter is assisting police with efforts to recover the bodies on eastern Molokai.
On Tuesday evening, Galiher, an experienced pilot, was flying his helicopter with one passenger to his second home on eastern Molokai. Colleagues reported the helicopter missing when they could not reach him Wednesday morning, and a search ensued.
At about 1:31 p.m. Wednesday, Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the wreckage was observed on a ridge at the 1,400-foot elevation in mountainous, tree-covered terrain. Rescue crews later confirmed there were no survivors.
The wreckage is less than a mile north-northwest from Galiher’s private helipad located on a ridge mauka of his home.
Galiher, 70, founded the law firm of Galiher, DeRobertis Waxman, and was nationally known for his work on cases involving mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer. His passenger has yet to be identified.
The National Weather Service had issued an advisory for turbulence near or surrounding mountainous areas across the islands for Tuesday evening. Northeasterly winds of up to 10 to 15 mph with gusts of 20 to 25 mph at the ground level were reported by the agency.