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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Four escape helicopter crash without injuries

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

A helicopter pilot and three passengers escaped injury in an accident Monday in the hills above of Pearlridge.

The Bell 206BII helicopter, operated by Schuman Aviation Company Ltd., was on contract with the Hawaiian Electric Co. and was hovering near the ground to load passengers when it rolled over and sustained major damage at about 1:45 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Tweet Coleman said.

The accident happened about eight miles northeast of the Honolulu International Airport and above Pearlridge, Coleman said.

Initial reports said a HECO employee stepped on the skid of the hovering helicopter, causing the helicopter to lose balance and roll over, Coleman said. A pilot was at the controls and three HECO employees were inside or near the helicopter at the time.

"No one got hurt; they all walked away," Coleman said. "The helicopter was totalled."

Fred Kobashikawa, spokesman for HECO, said he was trying to find out the purpose of Monday's mission, but added the company normally hires helicopters for power line work and to move employees and equipment to locations that are not easily accessible.

"I don't recall when we had an incident like this," said Kobashikawa, who has been with the company for more than 20 years.

Coleman and Kobashikawa said the accident is under investigation by the FAA and HECO. Damage estimates were unavailable.