State briefs for November 16

Report: Pilot lost consciousness before crash

KANEOHE, Oahu (AP) — A helicopter pilot told federal investigators that he lost consciousness twice during an October flight that crashed on a Hawaii sandbar, resulting in injuries to the pilot and two passengers.

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The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report this week on the tour helicopter that wrecked on a Kaneohe Bay sandbar on Oct. 22.

The Robinson R44 helicopter had taken off from the Honolulu International Airport for a 45-minute tour of Oahu, according to the report.

The 57-year-old pilot told investigators that “felt himself lose consciousness” about 20 minutes into the flight. He changed course to head toward the coast and prepared for a precautionary landing after he regained consciousness and control.

“The pilot remembers being in a dream-like state during his loss of consciousness, and in the dream-like state, he was piloting the helicopter and knew that he was in an emergency situation,” the report states.

The pilot lost consciousness again and remembered waking up to first responders treating him, according to the report.

Novictor Aviation, the tour company that owns the helicopter, previously said the pilot was believed to have suffered a medical emergency during the flight.

Carli McCounaghy, 35, and Adam Barnett, 31, a recently engaged couple from Joliet, Illinois, were on the flight. They told investigators that the pilot slumped over during the flight. The front-seat passenger grabbed the helicopter controls to slow the fall before it crashed, according to the report.

Skydivers jump after pilot reports issue

LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — The pilot of a skydiving plane made an emergency landing on Kauai after telling the two pairs of tandem parachutists to jump out, authorities said.

The plane’s operator Skydive Kauai issued a mayday call Monday morning after the pilot reported mechanical issues at 4,000 feet above Hanapepe, the Kauai Fire Department said.

The pilot then told the two instructors and two jumpers to exit the aircraft. One pair landed in a grassy area near Hanapepe Valley. A rescue helicopter located the pair and transported them to the Skydive Kauai office in Hanapepe, authorities said. The other pair landed safely at Eleele Elementary School. They were driven back to the office.

No one was injured.

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The pilot navigated the plane to Port Allen Airport and was able to land without incident.

Skydive Kauai owner Dave Timko said that the plane did not have mechanical issues, and operations returned to normal within 15 minutes of the aircraft’s landing.

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