A Hughes 369D helicopter doing utility work for Hawaiian Electric made an emergency landing in the mountains above Nuuanu after its engine failed late this morning, but no one was seriously hurt.
“The pilot was in good shape, no significant injuries, not even major bumps and bruises which is pretty remarkable,” said Shayne Enright, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. “He was bringing up workers into the area. None of those other workers were on board at the time.”
Honolulu firefighters, police and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to the downed chopper in a ravine near the Nuuanu Reservoir at about 11:45 a.m.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported that “the pilot reported engine failure while performing utility work in the area and made an emergency landing in mountainous terrain.”
It was initially reported a passenger was with the pilot, but EMS and FAA confirmed the pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft.
The 56-year-old pilot had dropped off workers at the site sometime before the chopper lost power. He declined to go to the hospital, Enright said.
“A contractor for Hawaiian Electric was transporting material near the Nuuanu Reservoir off Pali Highway when the helicopter lost power and made a hard landing,” according to Hawaiian Electric spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan. “No Hawaiian Electric employees were on board at the time of the crash. Employees were a safe distance from the helicopter when it came down.”
Honolulu Fire Capt. Jeffrey Roache said rescue crews ferried the pilot and two Hawaiian Electric workers one at a time to a landing site on an embankment near the reservoir.
Roache said the emergency was not classified as a crash but as a “hard landing” and it took place in a ravine-type area in the forest that is not accessible by vehicle.
“We’re thankful that no one was seriously hurt, either in the aircraft or on the ground,” Roache said.
The FAA will investigate the hard landing.
Windward Aviation, Inc. a helicopter services company based on Maui, is listed as the registered owner of the aircraft, according to FAA records.
In addition to utility helicopter services, the company has assisted with search and rescue operations in Maui County as well as aid firefighters battle brush fires, according to Windward Aviation’s website.
The company also helps organizations with conservation efforts and built fences in remote areas in Hawaii to protect threatened and endangered species.