A 28-year-old man who moved to Honolulu two weeks ago from New Mexico was the pilot who died along with two passengers when a tour helicopter crashed in a Kailua neighborhood, his father said Tuesday.
Joseph Berridge, who moved from Albuquerque, was the pilot of a four-seat Robinson R44 aircraft that crashed Monday morning on Oneawa Street, his father, Bobby Berridge, told The Associated Press from Garfield, New Mexico, where his son grew up on a 250-acre farm.
“It was always my son’s dream to go to Hawaii and fly tours for a couple of years,” Bobby Berridge said. His son’s girlfriend and dog were preparing to join him.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office Tuesday released the identity of one of the two women onboard the helicopter with Berridge. She has been identified as Ryan McAuliffe, 28, of Chicago. Australian news reports cited family members in saying that the third victim was Jan Burgess, a grandmother and great-grandmother who was on vacation with other family members.
CEO and chief pilot Nicole Vandelaar declined to confirm the pilot’s name.
“This accident is heartbreaking for everyone, especially the families and friends of the passengers and pilot, who was part of our Novictor family,” Vandelaar said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of them.”
The cause of the crash has not been determined.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were at the crash site Tuesday.
“I don’t know what happened with the crash, but he was a great helicopter pilot and he knew what he was doing,” Bobby Berridge said. “I’m not going to point fingers at this time.”
His son loved helicopters and also had an instructors’ license. “I talked to him about three or four days ago. He was on the beach enjoying life,” Bobby Berridge said. “He said, ‘Who has it better than I do?’”
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office on Tuesday found that the cause of death for all three individuals was “multiple blunt force injuries due to helicopter crash.” Toxicology testing and testing required by the Federal Aviation Administration are also being performed. However, those results are not expected for several weeks or months.