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Kauai

Six bodies found after tour helicopter crashes in Hawaii, one person still missing

Search operations to find the final person have been suspended until the fog lifts.

tour-helicopter-hawaii Justin Shackleford Justin Shackleford

THE REMAINS OF six people have been found after a helicopter heading to one of the most rugged and remote coastlines in Hawaii crashed.

Officials said there are no indications of survivors after the incident at the top of a mountain on the island of Kauai.

A search for the last person yet to be recovered has been suspended until tomorrow due to foggy weather conditions. 

Those who were recovered have not been identified and their families are being notified, authorities said.

A search began for the helicopter carrying a pilot and six passengers from two families after it was reported missing on Thursday evening from a tour of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.

Two passengers are believed to be minors, the Coast Guard said.

Steep terrain, low visibility, choppy seas and rain had complicated the search.

The helicopter company, identified as Safari Helicopters, contacted the Coast Guard at about 6pm Thursday to say the aircraft was about 30 minutes overdue, authorities said.

A person who answered the phone at a number listed for Safari Helicopters declined to comment and hung up.

tour-helicopter-hawaii Photo from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources shows a Coast Guard search and rescue team looking over Napali Coast State Wilderness Park. AP / PA Images AP / PA Images / PA Images

According to a preliminary report, the pilot said the tour was leaving the Waimea Canyon area, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” at about 4.40pm, which was the last contact with the helicopter.

The Eurocopter AS350 has an emergency electronic locator transmitter, but no signals were received.

The locator devices are designed to activate when an aircraft crashes, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The FAA requires the locators to be able to withstand impact.

However it is possible for the device to stop working in an extreme crash, Gregor said.

The FAA is investigating along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

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