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Teenager critically injured as helicopter crashes at Hawaii tourist spot

A tourist who captured footage of the crash said the helicopter was “essentially coming straight at us”.

cra Source: CBSN

SHAWN WINRICH, VISITING Hawaii from Madison, Wisconsin, was taking photos of Pearl Harbour when he saw a helicopter “essentially coming straight at us” at a popular tourist destination that attracts thousands of visitors daily.

He switched to video, recording as the helicopter appeared to lose altitude and get closer to the water.

“I thought it would be great video, whatever it is, and all of a sudden it essentially just fell out of the sky and crash-landed in the water,” he said.

He stopped filming and jumped in to help.

The heads of three adults popped up, and then a fourth surfaced. He heard people saying a fifth occupant was trapped.

The Bell 206 aircraft made a hard landing and sank near the Pearl Harbour Visitor Centre yesterday morning, US Navy spokeswoman Agnes Tauyan said.

The names of the five people on board were not immediately released.

Source: CBSN/YouTube

“We are told bystanders jumped in to help rescue these patients from the water,” said Shayne Enright, spokeswoman for Honolulu Emergency Services Department.

One of them was Chris Gardner, a tour guide with Keawe Adventures who was with a group of tourists at the visitor centre when he heard the crash.

“I took off my shirt and dove in,” he said, describing how he, a Navy sailor, a federal police officer and another man took turns diving to the submerged helicopter and trying to free a passenger with a knife.

He was strapped into his seat in the back of the aircraft.

They eventually freed the teenage passenger.

The helicopter crashed about 20 feet offshore, right next to the visitor centre’s lawn, said Winrich’s daughter, Justice Winrich. She watched as it “plopped down” into the water.

“I saw it like as it was coming in, and it looked pretty normal. It didn’t look like it was shaking or anything,” Winrich said.

It just started like getting really close this way and started going down.

She thought it was strange that the helicopter was that close to people.

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

Winrich saw three people get out of the helicopter immediately and start swimming to shore.

“I was like, oh my God, I can’t believe this just happened. It was crazy,” she said.

You go on vacation and you never think you’re going to see something like that.

Her father’s footage shows the helicopter heading toward the water and then crashing down. The blades stop spinning as it turns over in the water.

Honolulu paramedics treated the 16-year-old passenger and took him to a hospital in critical condition, Enright said.

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