comscore 6 aboard tour helicopter survive hard landing in Leilani Estates lava field | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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6 aboard tour helicopter survive hard landing in Leilani Estates lava field

  • Video by Daryl Lee / Special to the Star-Advertiser

    Six people aboard a tour helicopter survived a hard landing shortly before noon Thursday in a Hawaii island lava field near Leilani Estates, authorities said.

A tour helicopter made a precautionary landing and rolled over shortly before noon in a Hawaii island lava field near Leilani Estates, authorities said today.

No major injuries were reported from the hard landing by a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters aircraft, officials said.

The company issued the following statement:

“On March 5, a Blue Hawaiian aircraft was in flight near the Leilani Estates area when the pilot conducted a precautionary landing. The helicopter had launched from the Hilo base on the “Circle of Fire” tour. The five passengers on board and the pilot are safe.

“The safety of our passengers and pilot are our always top priority, and the pilot’s decision to safely land the aircraft is always the right decision. Local emergency services were called and we have notified the FAA and NTSB. We are committed to working closely with both the FAA and NTSB.”

Ian Gregor with the Federal Aviation Administration said a Eurocopter EC130 departed from Hilo International Airport when the problems occurred about 17 miles southeast of Hilo.

Earlier, Capt. John Briski with the Hawaii County Police department said he heard reports of minor injuries.

Fire Department Battalion Chief William Bergin told the Associated Press that “the pilot had to set the aircraft down” because an indicator light showed a problem with the tail rotor, but it’s not clear if the helicopter crashed or made a forced landing.

A fire department rescue helicopter responded as well as police and paramedics.

Gregor said the FAA would be investigating the incident.

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