Tour helicopter with five on board crashes into Pearl Harbor


PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A tour helicopter into Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Thursday. All five people on board were injured, one critically. All five were rushed to shore by rescue personnel and bystanders.

The Bell 206 aircraft made a hard landing and sank near the USS Arizona Memorial, a popular tourist destination on Oahu, said US Navy spokeswoman Agnes Tauyan.

Federal records show the helicopter is registered to Jeffrey Gebhard of Kailua, Hawaii. He couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The navy said in a statement that “the helicopter reportedly belongs to Genesis Aviation.” The company website said it conducts helicopter tours of Oahu.

The names of the five people on board were not immediately released.

“We are told bystanders jumped in to help rescue these patients from the water,” said Shayne Enright, spokeswoman for Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

Amber Moncrieff, a tourist from Australia, said she was visiting Pearl Harbor when she heard a couple of loud bangs and realized a helicopter had crashed into the water.

She said boats seemed to come from everywhere.

Federal Aviation Administration investigators were on their way to the crash site, and the National Transportation Safety Board had been informed, FAA spokeswoman Lynn Lunsford said.

It was the second major crash this year involving helicopters on Oahu.

Twelve Hawaii-based Marines were killed when two military helicopters crashed during night-time training on January 14.

Both aircraft were CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopters that were part of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463.