Four tourists killed in Hawaiian honeymoon helicopter crash

Ruth Doherty
Hawaiian honeymoon tragedy as newlyweds among 5 killed in helicopter crash
Hawaiian honeymoon tragedy as newlyweds among 5 killed in helicopter crash

Rescue vehicles arrived on the scene behind Kilohana Elementary School. Photo: AP


Two young engineers are among five people to have been killed after a sightseeing helicopter crashed and instantly burst into flames in Hawaii.

Michael and Nicole Abel, from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, had only been married for six days when their chopper was hit by a random attack of bad weather and hurtled into a ridge.

The pilot, 30-year-old Nathan Cline, and a Canadian couple from Ontario also lost their lives.

Onlookers said a storm front suddenly hit the scenic island of Molokai and caught the tour helicopter, which then crashed just behind the Kilohana Elementary School, where staff kept children from witnessing the scene by keeping them inside.

Police officers and firefighters found all five who had been on board dead upon arrival.

The group were on a 45-minute tour of West Maui and Molokai, run by Blue Hawaiian Helicpoters, which has temporarily closed to 'review procedures'.

Hawaiian honeymoon tragedy as newlyweds among 5 killed in helicopter crash
Hawaiian honeymoon tragedy as newlyweds among 5 killed in helicopter crash

Blue Hawaiian helicopters sat grounded at the Kuluhui Airport after the crash. Photo: AP


The owner, David Chevalier, told the Daily Mail: 'We're extremely grieved for our pilot as well as the passengers. Something like this can't be more devastating to us.'

The tour was carried out in an EC-130 chopper that was rented from Nevada Helicopter Leasing LLC, and was less than a year old.

No official word on the cause of the crash has yet been made, but aviation officials have already arrived to study the wreckage, and Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said they will 'try to piece it together to conduct the investigation'.

Mr and Mrs Abel were described by their wedding photographer, Joe Appel, as 'a very sweet couple', who were obviously 'very devoted to each other'.

The couple both worked for the nuclear power company, Westinghouse, in Cranberry, Pennsylvania (100 miles north of Pittsburgh).

Westinghouse spokesman Vaughn Gilbert said: 'They were both young engineers, and their co-workers speak glowingly of them.

'This is just such a tragedy. The whole Westinghouse family is heartbroken, and our hearts go out to their families.'


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