HONOLULU (KHON2) — On June 8, 2022, a helicopter carrying six people crashed in Ka Lae during a tour flight by Pacific Helicopters. There were no fatalities — three were seriously injured, and the other three had minor injuries.
On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board opened a public docket as part of its ongoing investigation of the crash.
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The docket includes more than 250 pages of information, including reports of survival factors, interview transcripts, photographs and other materials.
The interview with the pilot reveals that the morning of the crash, he and a mechanic took the helicopter on a test flight after its engine had been changed. There were no issues. The pilot then did two tours using the same helicopter, with no issues.
During the third tour, the helicopter crashed after its tail boom separated from the fuselage at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet above ground level.
“Everything was nice and honky dory the first, 10 to 15 minutes. Flying we were not too far from the south point and pretty much straight level flight from what I recall,” the pilot said in the interview.
Then, he heard and felt a “whoosh,” but it wasn’t loud nor indicative of a pressure change. At the same time, he said he got pushed forward into the machine and realized he was yawing to the right, not by command.
“I looked inside. I did not have any indication on my panel, there was no horn, there was no nothing in my headset. No light on the panel,” the pilot continued. “So, I stopped looking inside and I start looking outside and trying to get kind of a reference of where I was at that point.”
After making two mayday calls, the pilot said he remembers telling his passengers to prepare for a hard landing.
“And the next things I remember one of the passengers that was in the back telling me he had to get me out of the helicopter,” the pilot said.
“And I remember looking, I was kind of up in the air a little bit, holding by my seatbelt, and looking at my arm and my arm was bent pretty bad. I could tell it was broken and I was like I don’t think I can get out on my own,” the pilot continued, “and the passenger — I don’t remember his name — but he left and he came back and he made a tourniquet out of one of the blade tie-downs and tied my arm up and then he helped me.”
The pilot went on to say that the passenger prevented him from hitting the rock, letting him land on his back when he unhooked him, then helped him get away from the machine. The pilot suffered 18 broken bones as a result of the crash.
“I remember sitting there for a little bit and then I remember the paramedics coming and they had to put me on the stretcher and it, you know, in and out,” the pilot said. “You know, I remember little bits of that, about getting (indiscernible) the machine and then the rescue helicopter going to Kona.”
Click here to read the full transcript.
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The docket does not provide a final report, not does it contain probable cause. More material will be added to the docket as it becomes available.