Teams combing the wreckage of a Hawaii sightseeing helicopter that crashed on Kauai island found no sign of survivors on Friday and recovered six sets of human remains before suspending the search due to bad weather, police and fire officials said.
The grim announcement came in a news conference almost 24 hours after the aircraft, first reported missing on Thursday evening, went down in a remote area of rugged terrain near the end of a tour flight over the island’s famed Na Pali Coast.
The crash was at least the ninth, and by far the deadliest, involving sightseeing helicopters in Hawaii over the past five years, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) records.
The confirmed manifest of the ill-fated aircraft, flown by Kauai-based tour operator Safari Helicopters, consisted of six passengers, two of them children, and one pilot, Kauai County fire battalion chief Solomon Kanoho told reporters.
The identities of the dead were being kept confidential until next of kin could be notified, authorities said.
“We are heartbroken by this tragedy and we continue to ask the public to consider the sensitive nature of this devastating situation,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all victims during this extremely difficult time.”
The Kauai fire department called off its search-and-recovery efforts late Friday afternoon due to fog and poor visibility but planned to resume the operation at daybreak on Saturday, Kanoho said.
Although the remains of just six of the seven people who were aboard the ill-fated aircraft have been recovered, Kanoho added: “There are no indications of survivors.”