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- A helicopter carrying seven people, including two children, is missing off the coast of Hawaii’s Kauai island.
- The helicopter was touring Kauai’s Nā Pali Coast on Thursday evening when it disappeared.
- It remains unclear what company the helicopter belonged to, but its owner contacted the US Coast Guard after the aircraft hadn’t returned from its tour.
- The Eurocopter AS350 had taken off from the town of Lihue. The helicopter has an electronic locator, but the Coast Guard has not received a signal from the aircraft.
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A tourism helicopter with seven people on board has gone missing off the coast of Hawaii, the US Coast Guard said.
It remains unclear which tour company the helicopter was from, but its owner contacted the Coast Guard on Thursday just after 6 p.m. local time, about 45 minutes after the aircraft was due back from a trip off Kauai.
The helicopter was touring Kauai’s Nā Pali Coast on Thursday evening. On board the aircraft was one pilot and six passengers, two of whom were minors, the Coast Guard said in a press release.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told the Associated Press that the Eurocopter AS350 had taken off from the town of Lihue. The helicopter has an electronic locator, but no signals had been received by the Coast Guard by Friday morning.
“The weather conditions are challenging. We have trained crews responding and on scene searching for any signs of the helicopter and those aboard,” Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, from the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu, said in the press release regarding the organization’s search for the helicopter.
According to the Coast Guard statement, the area had 4 miles visibility due to clouds and rain, and winds were 28 miles per hour on Thursday.
Crew from the Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, the organization’s MH-65 helicopter, and members of the US Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 at Kaneohe Bay were searching for the helicopter early Friday morning. Further searches are scheduled for first light on Friday.
Much of the island of Kauai is a state park, leaving nearly 80% of it uninhabited.
The island is a common tourist hotspot, and several helicopter companies offer tours with views of the Manawaiopuna Falls (commonly known as Jurassic Park Falls), Hanapepe Valley, Waimea Canyon, Nā Pali Coast, the Hanalei Valley, and Mt. Waialeale.
Helicopter tours usually last around an hour, and cost between $150 and $300.
This is a developing story.
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