A helicopter crash in the waters near the USS Arizona Memorial has left
a 15-year-old boy critically injured. Five people were on board when the
helicopter, owned by Genesis Helicopters, crashed during an aerial tour
of Pearl Harbor.
The accident happened at around 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, February 18 in
the area near the National Park Service Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and
the Ford Island Bridge.
Witnesses said they knew right away that something was wrong when they
saw the chopper around 30 yards offshore. They reported that the propeller
stopped working, which was then followed by a large bang. The chopper
flew erratically for a few moments before falling approximately 30 feet
straight down into the waters below. The helicopter rolled over and began to sink.
Because the accident occurred so close to the shoreline, bystanders immediately
ran over to the chopper to render aid to the five passengers trapped inside.
Four were removed without incident from the cabin, but the 15-year-old
boy was trapped in his seat. A Navy policeman and another rescuer took
turns cutting the boy’s seatbelt with a knife and were finally able
to get him out. The boy was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
A 45-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man were also taken to the hospital
in stable condition.
An investigation of exactly what went wrong is now underway, although a
mechanical failure is suspected. Investigators are also looking into whether
the tour helicopter was compliant with all rules and regulations before
the crash. According to experts, the pilot had only seconds to react.
This is the first time that this tour company has had an accident since
its inception in 1999.
For more on this story, including a video clip of the accident taken by
a bystander, please visit
KHON 2 online.