There is no denying that Hawaii is one of the most beautiful states in the country. It is also a popular tourist destination thanks to the tropical year-round climate. Many people who visit the islands want to explore and take in as much of the beautiful scenery as possible, which means helicopter tours are incredibly popular.
Unfortunately, tour helicopter crashes are something that occur all too often. Since 2000, according to Honolulu Civil Beat, there have been 44 lives lost in 14 helicopter tour crashes in the state. This figure does not include the latest crash occurring just after Christmas 2019 which took the lives of everyone on board. Since this was the third such crash of the year, it is bringing up concern over the safety of small aircraft and whether the Federal Aviation Administration is doing enough to ensure safety. In addition, many feel the tour industry lacks the ability to self-regulate.
The most recent helicopter tour crash happened in Kauai. There were six people on board and the pilot. This included two families, a mother and teen daughter and a family of four from Switzerland with one teen and one preteen. This crash brings the number of fatalities due to tour helicopter crashes to 51 since 2000.
The investigation into the crash is not yet complete. What is known is the tour took off on Thursday after Christmas from Lihue. Searchers from the U.S. Coast Guard assisted by state and county agencies found the bodies of six victims on Saturday on the north shore of Kauai. Later searchers were able to find the seventh victim.
The FFA and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing the investigation into the cause of the accident. Lawmakers in the state are currently working on measures that would help to make helicopter tours and other small aircraft tourist attractions safer.