Hawaii tourism

Tourist helicopter crash in Hawaii in lava field

HONOLULU (KHON2) – A tourist helicopter carrying six people has crashed into a lava field near South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii, according to Hawaii County officials.

K&S Helicopters, the operator of Paradise Helicopters, said the accident happened around 5:29 p.m. Wednesday while the plane, a Bell 407, was on a tour. Five passengers and a crew member are believed to be on board, according to preliminary information

Officials said a 50-year-old pilot and an 18-year-old woman were in serious condition. Four passengers would be ambulatory.

The Hawaii Fire Department said ground units were unable to access the crash site, located one mile from the nearest road. A helicopter was dispatched to extract three outpatients from the crash site and take them to medical units on the ground.

A second helicopter arrived on the scene shortly after, and flew the most seriously injured patient to waiting ground crews before returning to pick up another patient in serious condition. Another patient in critical condition was transported to Kona Community Hospital in a helicopter.

All remaining patients were also taken by firefighter units to Kona Community Hospital.

K&S Helicopters said it has launched an emergency response plan. All company resources had been mobilized to respond to the incident, according to K&S.

“Caring for our passengers, crew members and their families is our top priority,” said Calvin Dorn of K&S Helicopters.