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National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators are looking into developing plans to recover the wreckage of the air tour helicopter that crashed in Kauai, Hawaii, on Dec. 26, to allow a more thorough investigation of the recovered evidence.
The Airbus AS350 B2 helicopter (N985SA) was registered to SAF LTD and operated by Safari Helicopters, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 135 as an on-demand sightseeing flight.
According to an NTSB investigative update published Dec. 31, the helicopter departed Lihue Airport, Hawaii, at 4:31 p.m. local time on Dec. 26. About 25 minutes after takeoff, roughly 24 miles northwest of Lihue, the aircraft impacted a ridge at an altitude of 2,900 feet, then fell approximately 100 feet. The aircraft was subsequently consumed by a post-crash fire. The pilot and six passengers were killed.
On Dec. 30, NTSB investigator-in-charge Brice Banning flew over the crash site to photo document the wreckage path and evaluate the site conditions. The wreckage will be moved to a secure location in the coming days for further examination, the NTSB said.
A preliminary report documenting facts collected at the scene of the crash will be issued by the NTSB within three weeks of the crash date. Upon completion of the investigation, which could take 12-24 months, the NTSB will issue a final report detailing the probable cause of the cash and any safety recommendations, the agency said.