HONOLULU (KHON2) — Dr. Amy Gannon, her husband, and her two children had been looking forward to spending Christmas in Hawaii since they booked the trip in the Summer.
Dr. Gannon and her friend Heather Wentler co-founded the Doyenne Group seven years ago in Wisconsin.
The group empowers women to thrive in their workplace.
“Amy was always super bubbly, she just brought this beautiful positive energy to every room she walked into,” Wentler said of her co-founder.
She says this was the Gannon family’s first trip to Hawaii.
“They had been planning for the last six months like, ‘where are we going to go? What are we going to do?’ And Jocelyn had been learning to play the ukulele,” Wentler said.
She said the family was six days into their vacation when they decided to take in the scenery of the Na Pali coast by air.
“They were all supposed to go on the helicopter ride but it was overbooked,” she said. “So Mike and Aaron chose to stay behind and they were going to go on the next tour.”
The chopper never came back and was found Friday morning in the remote area of Nualolo.
Dr. Gannon’s husband called Wentler with the news Friday evening.
“I kind of heard about on the news of a helicopter crash and knew they were on Kauai, but never for a moment thought I would be receiving this phone call.”
“I think we’re still in shock,” she said. “It still feels surreal. We’re still waiting for the phone call that this is just a joke so it hasn’t really hit us yet.”
Wentler hopes no other family has to go through a tragedy like this.
“No one should ever have to get these phone calls. I think it would be worth while to look at how do we make this safer?”
The identities of a family of four from Switzerland have not yet been released.
Based on the flight manifest, Kauai police believe a 50-year-old woman, a 49-year-old man and two girls ages 10 and 13 were also on board.