Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Thursday, July 18, 2024 86° Today's Paper

Top News

Medical examiner identifies third victim in fatal Kailua helicopter crash

Swipe or click to see more


Jan Burgess, 76

Swipe or click to see more


A crane hoisted the wreckage of a fatal helicopter crash onto a flatbed truck in Kailua, Tuesday, after NTSB and police investigators inspected it.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday released the identity of the third person killed in a Kailua helicopter crash.

She has been identified as Jan Burgess, 76, of Australia.

The names of the other two victims, released by the office on Tuesday, were Joseph G. Berridge, 28, and Ryan McAuliffe, 28, of Chicago, Ill. Berridge had just moved to Honolulu from Albuquerque, N.M., to fly tour helicopters, his father said.

>> NTSB probe continues into deadly Kailua copter crash

McAuliffe and Burgess were the two female passengers on board the Robinson R44 operated by Novictor Helicopters.

At about 9:15 a.m. on Monday, their helicopter crashed on Oneawa Street in Kailua, killing everyone on board, and scattered debris throughout several blocks of the residential neighborhood. The cause of death for all three was “multiple blunt force injuries due to helicopter crash.” No other injuries were reported.

Burgess was on a holiday trip with other family members when the accident occurred, Burgess’ family said in a statement issued through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Known fondly as “Jammie,” Burgess was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunty and friend to a wide network of family and friends.

“We are trying to understand and deal with the sudden loss at this time and we request that our extended families’ privacy is respected during this process,” the family said. “We are all in pain at this time. We are also mindful that this tragic incident is also affecting two other families and friends and request that due care is also given to their privacy as we share in their grief.”

“We would like to recognize the brave and selfless efforts of the local community who rushed to this accident scene to assist those that were injured and also the response from the local emergency services,” the family said.

Staff from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were at the site throughout Tuesday conducting an on-site investigation. On Tuesday evening, crews removed the helicopter wreckage with a crane and flatbed truck. City officials reported the section of Oneawa Street by Kalolina Street, which had been closed during the on-site investigation, had reopened as of 7:21 p.m. Tuesday.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said, generally, the on-scene investigation lasts several days, with a preliminary report issued within two weeks. The preliminary report will list the facts discovered during the on-scene investigation, but will not address the cause of the accident.

Today, the NTSB investigators are examining the airframe and engine at a facility and meeting with the operator, Novictor Helicopters. The helicopter took off at about 8:54 a.m. from Honolulu in good weather, said Weiss, and crashed at about 9:15 a.m. Witnesses observed the helicopter with a low nose, descending rapidly, with none of the rotor blades moving before it fell straight down.

The full report, with probable cause, typically takes between 12 to 24 months.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.