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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 4, 2006

Engine problem blamed in copter crash on Maui

Advertiser staff

KAHULUI, Maui Loss of engine power caused a Maui tour helicopter to crash land in a sugar cane field Sunday, according to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report.

The pilot and six passengers aboard the AlexAir Eurocopter AS350D were not injured. It was the third forced landing in January of a Maui-based tour helicopter.

The aircraft took off at 9 a.m. from the Kahului Heliport for a 45-minute flight, climbing to 2,000 feet. But shortly after takeoff the pilot reported a "couple of loud sounds" coming from the engine, the NTSB report said. The engine immediately lost power and the aircraft came down five miles southeast of the heliport. The impact tore the tail from the helicopter.

On Jan. 10, a Sunshine Helicopters' Eurocopter AS350 on a sightseeing trip landed in trees on a steep slope in Kaupo, with the pilot suffering a broken leg. Five passengers had minor injuries. The NTSB reported that the pilot said he made the emergency landing after a warning horn sounded.

On Jan. 5, a Blue Hawaiian Eurocopter EC130 experienced loss of engine power and made a hard landing in Honokohau Valley, near Lahaina. No one was seriously injured.