Hawaii Helicopter and Airplane Crashes

Experienced Representation in Cases Involving Helicopters and Airplanes Based in Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands offer spectacular landscapes and scenery that attract millions of tourists every year. Many of these visitors plan sightseeing tours on a helicopter or airplane as a highlight of their vacation. Estimates are that 1 in 10 visitors to Hawaii may take a sightseeing or air tour flight during their visit. Unfortunately, these adventures can sometimes end in tragedy. It is always a good idea to check out the safety record of any tour company you plan on using.

Baum Hedlund successfully handled the helicopter tour crash that occurred on September 23, 2005, at approximately 2:25 in the afternoon, involving an Aerospatiale AS-350BA registered to Jan Leasing, LLC, of Las Vegas and operated by Heli USA Airways. The helicopter crashed into the ocean, several hundred yards off the coastline at Kauai’s Ke’e Beach. The pilot says he saw another helicopter below him and apparently took sudden, uncalled-for maneuvering actions that resulted in his helicopter dropping, hitting the water, going up into the air again and then back into the water. Three passengers were killed, and the commercial pilot and two other passengers received minor injuries. The 45-minute helicopter tour had departed from Lihue Airport, Lihue, Hawaii, on the island of Kauai.

We Handle All Types of Airline Accidents In Hawaii

Only two major airline incidents have occurred in and around the Hawaiian Islands. Neither one of these incidents involved a crash per se, but deaths were caused when people were sucked out of openings in the aircraft fuselage midflight.

On April 28, 1988, a flight attendant died when she was ejected from a Boeing 737 operated by Aloha Airlines Flight 243, traveling from Hilo to Honolulu, after the aircraft suffered an explosive decompression and part of the cabin skin peeled off near the entrance door. Seven other people were seriously injured and 57 passengers received minor injuries.

On February 24, 1989, nine passengers died when they were ejected from a Boeing 747 operated by United Airlines Flt. 811 after departing Honolulu, when the aircraft experienced an explosive decompression following the opening of an improperly latched cargo door. Additionally, five passengers received serious injuries and 33 receive minor injuries.

Get Help From a Leader in Aviation Law

The law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, P.C., is recognized as an industry leader in aviation crash litigation. Based in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., we represent clients throughout the U.S., and around the world. We have handled multiple helicopter or small plane crashes in Hawaii since 1989. These crashes involved, among others;

  • Hawaii Helicopters, Inc
  • Heli USA
  • Jack Harter Helicopters
  • Scenic Air Tours.

Hawaii Airplane and Helicopter Accidents Handled by Our Law Firm

Since 1962, there have been approximately 80 accidents in Hawaii involving commercial aviation sightseeing planes and helicopters. About 82% of these crashes involved helicopters.

The following is a summary of some of the Hawaiian airplane and helicopter tour accidents and incidents that Baum Hedlund has handled, in addition to the 2005 Heli USA crash, mentioned above:

September 23, 2005, an Aerospatiale helicopter operated by Heli USA Airways crashed off the coast of Kailiu point, Kauai after encountering adverse weather during a sightseeing tour. Three passengers died as a result of the helicopter crash, two from drowning and another from a heart attack caused by nearly drowning, while the pilot and two other passengers were injured. The pilot claimed he saw another helicopter heading for his aircraft and therefore was forced to swerve into the storm that caused him to lose control of the aircraft. However, the surviving passengers and other pilots in the area disputed that account, saying that the helicopter was flown directly into the storm. After this accident, the NTSB criticized the FAA for its lack of oversight or proper safety measures, like floatation devices, in Hawaiian tour flights, especially when dealing with inexperienced pilots. In this case, the pilot had only been flying in Hawaii for two months before the fatal accident.

July 23, 2003, five people died when a Bell 206B helicopter tour, operated by Jack Harter Helicopters, crashed while nearing the Waialeale Crater on Kauai. The pilot failed to maintain adequate terrain clearance / altitude while descending into adverse weather over mountainous terrain.

September 16, 1992, a sightseeing helicopter operated by Hawaii Helicopters, Inc., in Maui, took off and flew into adverse weather conditions. The Aerospatiale AS-350B helicopter and all seven passengers and the pilot, died when it collided with mountainous terrain near the town of Hana.

June 11, 1989, a Beech H18 air taxi sightseeing flight from Hilo to Kahului, Hawaii, operated by Scenic Air Tours crashed into a canyon area near a waterfall in Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii. Eleven people died in the crash.

View additional plane crash and aviation accidents handled by Baum Hedlund:

Contact Us for a Free Initial Consultation

For immediate assistance, or to schedule an initial consultation or free case evaluation with an experienced helicopter or plane crash lawyer, please contact us online or call 888-406-6726.

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