Three people were killed in Hawaii Monday when a tour helicopter spun out of control and nose-dived into a busy highway, officials said.
The Robinson R44 chopper went up in flames when it hit the Kailua roadway at around 9 a.m., sending shards of debris flying onto nearby homes and cars. Authorities believe the three people killed were the only ones on board.
“I don’t see how anybody could’ve walked away from it,” witness Mike Cunningham told Hawaii News Now. “It was in flames immediately. And you couldn’t get close to it.”
Another witness, Adrian Kozuki, said he heard a “pop” or “blast” about 15 seconds before the crash.
At least one nearby car was badly damaged when the helicopter’s fuel tank landed on its hood.
The chopper is operated by the tour agency Novictor Helicopters, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The company was involved in another crash in October when a pilot suffered a medical emergency. A couple visiting from Chicago was seriously injured in that incident.