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Six die in Hawaii helicopter crash

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Six bodies been have recovered and authorities believe there are no survivors after a helicopter carrying seven people crashed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Wreckage from the crash was located Friday in Kōke’e near Nu’alolo, according to the Kauai Police Department.

Before fog and poor visibility ended recovery efforts Friday, first responders located six bodies, a spokesman for the Kauai Fire Department said during a press conference.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday it would send three representatives to investigate the fatal crash.

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these passengers,” Kaua’i Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said in a press release. The wreckage was found in a mountainous area of Kauai, authorities said. Two of the passengers are believed to be minors, the Coast Guard said.

Searchers began looking for the helicopter carrying a pilot and six passengers after it was reported overdue from a tour of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast on Thursday evening. According to a preliminary report, the pilot said the tour was leaving the Waimea Canyon area, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” about 4:40 p.m., which was the last contact with the helicopter, Kauai police said.

In its initial response Thursday evening, the Coast Guard sent out a chopper, supported by a Coast Guard cutter, after the tour operator said its helicopter failed to return as expected at 5:21 p.m.

In addition to the military support, search teams included the Kauai Fire Department, Kauai National Guard and commercial helicopter pilots. Steep terrain, low visibility, choppy seas and rain had complicated the search, the Coast Guard has said. Helicopter tours above Kauai are common to view such sites as Jurassic Park Falls, the Hanapepe Valley and Waimea Canyon.

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