THE remains of six people onboard the doomed Hawaii tourist helicopter have been found, with a seventh passenger presumed dead.
Rescuers will return to the island of Kauai which featured in Jurassic Park to find the seventh body on Saturday, weather permitting.
Local authorities say the tragic passengers have not been identified yet but their families are being notified.
A pilot, a family of two and a family of four were on board the aircraft which crashed at the top of a mountain, inland from the Na Pali Coast, reports KHON 2.
“There are no indications of survivors,” said Kauai Fire Department Battalion Chief Sol Kanoho on Friday.
Poor visiblity and fog are preventing rescuers from going back to the scene of the crash tonight.
Officials sent out additional resources after the wrecked chopper was found in a remote and rugged region of the island on Friday.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those onboard as search and rescue crews work at the site of the helicopter crash on Kauai,” said Gov. David Ige.
The US Coast Guard resumed the search 12 hours after the chopper vanished as it flew over the largely uninhabited island on Thursday evening.
A spokesperson told The Sun Online they didn’t find any survivors and the Coast Guards’ search had concluded.
Steep terrain, low visibility, choppy seas and rain makes the search for the missing seventh passenger more difficult.
The aircraft belonged to Safari Helicopters which is a tour helicopter company based in Lihue, according to local reports.
The owner notified the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu who sent out search crews, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 14th District Hawaii and the Pacific.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told the Associated Press they are looking at the company’s safety record.
Gregor said are investigating the tragic incident along with the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Sun Online reached out to Safari Helicopters for comment on Friday evening.
A person manning the company’s phones in Lihue said they were “not ready to give a statement at this time.”
The chopper belonged to Safari Helicopters ToursThe aircraft is equipped with an electronic locator, but no signals were received.
Gregor said the locator devices are designed to activate when an aircraft crashes.
The FAA requires the locators to be able to withstand impact but an extreme crash could render them useless.
A signal can be shrouded if an aircraft is in a deep canyon or gorge, Gregor added.
‘FAILURE TO REGULATE’
But U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii blasted the FAA for not taking NTSB safety improvement efforts seriously.
Case said innocent lives are “paying the price” for the tourism industy failing to regulate itself.
The FAA said it conducts random and regular surveillance on all Hawaii air tour operators.
Gregor told the Associated Press the agency does not have concerns about the industry statewide.
Over the past decade, the NTSB aviation accident database lists nine crashes of Hawaii helicopter sightseeing flights – including three with fatalities.
The NTSB called on the FAA to tighten its regulations governing parachute operations after a Hawaii skydiving plane crashed, killing 11 in June.
The FAA said it had made changes to address NTSB recommendations and concerns.
The Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu said that the owner of an overdue tour helicopter alerted it at 6.06pm (local time) to say there was no sign of the aircraft, which was scheduled to return at 5.21pm.
Before the wreckage was located, Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox confirmed the helicopter went missing off Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.
Nearly 80 per cent of Kauai is uninhabited, and much of that is a state park – the home of the Manawaiopuna Falls, otherwise known as “Jurassic Park Falls.”
This waterfall was made famous in one of the opening scenes of Jurassic Park.
Towering mountains with deep ravines and huge waterfalls make up the interior of the uninhabited state park on the island.
Our thoughts are with the families of those onboard as search and rescue crews work at the site of the helicopter crash on Kauai,.
Gov. David Ige
Red rock cliffs with thick jungle canopies rise from the Pacific Ocean to over 4,000 feet high.
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman Dan Dennison, who has spent years visiting and photographing the area, said winter brings more rain and turbulent seas.
The only way to see the 400ft-high falls is by chopper, as it’s “tucked on private land in a highly inaccessible, undeveloped area,” according to tourist operators.
“It’s such a vast area with so many ins and outs and pockets of vegetation,” Dennison said. “It’s just really hard to see from the air through the heavy canopy.
Mr Cox agreed the “weather conditions are challenging” as they searched for the people aboard the wrecked aircraft.
A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew from the Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point are still searching the scene for survivors.
They will be joined by a HC-130 Hercules airplane at first light tomorrow, said Mr Cox.
However, the search has been hampered by tricky weather conditions, with visibility down to four miles due to clouds and rain, while winds are at 28 mph.