Wind, rain and darkness likely contributed to the helicopter crash that killed two people on Molokai, according to a report by federal investigators.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its investigative report this week on the November 2016 crash that killed Honolulu attorney Gary Galiher and real estate agent Keiko Kuroki.
Galiher, an experienced pilot, took off from the Honolulu airport in his Hughes 369D and was heading to his home on Molokai, a flight that was expected to take about 30 minutes.
Witnesses on Molokai saw the helicopter flying “surprisingly low” before it disappeared over a ridge on the rainy and windy night, they told investigators. The helicopter crashed less than a mile from his home on the southeast side of Kamakou Mountain.
Before Galiher had left Honolulu, a mechanic had advised him not to fly because of the weather conditions, according to the report. Galiher insisted on flying.
Authorities found the burned wreckage the next morning in a mountainous, tree-covered area. The pilot and passenger were dead.
Investigators examined the aircraft, finding no evidence of a mechanical anomaly or malfunction that would have affected the helicopter’s flight.
Galiher, 70, flew between Oahu and Molokai about every other week. He had recorded 4,210 hours of flight experience, including 45 hours during the six months before the crash.
Investigators were unable to determine his instrument and night flight experience because they could not find his logbook.