Investigators trying to remove helicopter wreckage from remote area on Kauai
A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said the wreckage removal process began Thursday of a tour helicopter that crashed Dec. 26 in a remote area of Kokee, killing all seven on board.
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A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said the wreckage removal process began Thursday
of a tour helicopter that crashed Dec. 26 in a remote area of Kokee, killing all seven on board.
The Kauai Police Department said Thursday that personnel will return to the crash site after the wreckage removal.
“We can’t say whether we have the seventh person’s
remains until we have completed the DNA testing,” KPD spokeswoman Coco Zickos said. “We combed through everything possible up to this point. Once the wreckage is removed we will make sure to recover any additional remains that may be there.”
The NTSB said Tuesday that the Safari Helicopters’ Eurocopter AS-350-B2 struck a ridge at an elevation of 2,900 feet, then fell about
100 feet. After the crash,
fire consumed most of the aircraft.
Moving the wreckage “was deemed to be the safer alternative than actually getting boots on the ground at the crash site because of the terrain and the remoteness,” said Eric Weiss, spokesman for the NTSB.
However, weather conditions at the crash site delayed the removal.
“Right now it’s socked in by weather,” Weiss said at
1 p.m. Thursday (HST) from Washington, D.C. “Once the weather is favorable, they will start removing the wreckage.”
He said he could not
provide another update Thursday due to the time difference and inaccessibility of on-site NTSB investigators.
A company was hired to remove the wreckage from the crash site to a secure, undisclosed location so investigators can examine it.
Getting to the wreckage on foot would require “a four- to six-hour hike through the bush … or being short-hauled by helicopter,” which would require being attached to and hanging from a helicopter, “not that it’s dangerous, but we felt that this would be the best and safest alternative.”
The other parties who will have to gain access to the wreckage include the Federal Aviation Administration, Safari Helicopters and technical advisers: engine manufacturer Safran HE and helicopter manufacturer Airbus.
A preliminary report, which recaps the factual evidence discovered on scene, is due within three weeks of the accident date, but no cause will be provided, Weiss said.
The final report, analysis and probable cause can take from 12 to 24 months.
Family and friends held a memorial Thursday to remember those killed in the crash, according to Hawaii News Now.
They were identified by the county from the flight manifest as a family from Switzerland: Sylvie Winteregg, 50, Christophe Winteregg, 49, Alice Winteregg, 13, and Agathe Winteregg, 10. Also identified were 47-year-old Amy Gannon and her daughter Jocelyn Gannon, 13, of Madison, Wis.; and pilot Paul Matero, 69, of Wailua.
Christophe Winteregg is listed on LinkedIn as a senior director of solution engineering technology and cloud platform at (Redwood Shores, Calif.-based) Oracle Corp. in Daettwil, Switzerland. The co-founder of Oracle is Larry Ellison, who owns 98% of Lanai.
His LinkedIn photo resembles one on Facebook for a Christophe Winteregg.
Sylvie Winteregg, who is his Facebook friend, posted Dec. 17 a photo of herself taken at a tropical beach with coconut trees in the background, possibly taken in Hawaii.