The Kauai fire department called off its search-and-recovery efforts late Friday afternoon due to fog and poor visibility but planned to resume the operation at daybreak on Saturday, Chief Kanoho said.
Search engines began searching for the helicopter carrying a pilot and six passengers after it was reported that he was delayed on a tour of the Na Pali coast of Kauai on Thursday night.
Kanoho declined to release any details on the victims, but said in addition to the pilot, there were two groups of passengers on the chopper ― a party of two and a party of four. At the time of the report, local winds were blowing at about 30 miles per hour, and visibility was impaired because of clouds and rain, authorities said.
Helicopter tours over Kauai are often visited by attractions such as the Jurassic Park Waterfall, Hanapepe Valley and Waimea Canyon.
The helicopter company, identified as Safari Helicopters, contacted the Coast Guard Thursday evening after the helicopter did not return to the airport as scheduled. "We further know that the Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for regulating our nation's airspace, has not taken the NTSB's concerns seriously".
The aircraft was equipped with an electronic locator, but it didn't go off.
"At Edgewood College, we remember the words of Meister Eckhart at hard times like this", said Gevelinger. Its safety record was not immediately available.
Three National Transportation Security Board investigators are expected to arrive today to investigate the crash and will have an update today. Around 80 percent of Kauai is uninhabited, with most of that land a state park. Cliffs of red rock with thick covers of the jungle rise from the Pacific Ocean more than 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) high.
Operations are now being conducted by the Kauai Fire Departments Rescue 3 personnel and Air 1, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Kauai Police Department.
The weather is the primary challenge to any search-and-rescue operation in the area, Dennison said.
"You can have very low ceilings". "Those microclimates can come on very quickly and dissipate quickly too, so the weather reporting is hard". There can be heavy rain and strong winds which sometimes make it hard, if not impossible, for theft, "he said".
And even the beaches that are there would be a tight spot to land a helicopter.