HONOLULU (KHON2) – Rescue crews responded Monday morning to a helicopter crash on Oneawa Street in Kailua. The area is heavily populated but the helicopter managed to avoid hitting or landing on any homes.
The Honolulu Fire Department confirms there are three people dead. Officials believe that there were no bystanders or nearby residents that were injured in the incident.
The call came in at about 9:15 Monday morning. Honolulu EMS units were on another call, about 30 feet away, and heard the crash and were able to respond. Residents were already on-scene trying to get victims away from the aircraft. A neighbor was driving in the immediate area and was hit by debris from the helicopter. There were no injuries reported in the car.
“Our hearts go out to the three who died and of course their families. It’s a very sad day in the City and County of Honolulu,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Witnesses report that it was raining heavily at the time of the crash. Through the rain though, witnesses report that the crash sounded like a sonic boom.
“We looked up, saw it spinning and as it was spinning we could hear stuff flying out, you know debris landing,” said witness Tehani Alo. “Neighbors were using their fire hoses to try and extinguish the fully engulfed helicopter.”
The debris field stretches over several streets. One homeowner found a camera in his yard. Some pieces of the helicopter were strewn across the street. There were reports of shattered glass as far away as the Kailua Racquet Club which is approximately 1000 yards from the site of the crash.
Residents who responded were able to assist in diverting traffic as Oneawa is a very busy street. The roads remain closed in the immediate area as of Noon and officials do not know when they will re-open. Residents are strongly urged to find alternate routes to avoid the area.
We do know that the helicopter was a four-seater Robinson R44. We were told that inspectors with the Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA) were on the way to the scene.