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Tue, Apr 24, 2007

Hard Landing For Hawaii Tour Helo

Four Passengers Not Seriously Hurt

A tour helicopter made a hard landing Saturday on the lawn of celebrity chef Bev Gannon's estate in Makawaio, Maui in Hawaii shortly after takeoff.

The Sunshine Helicopters EC130 B4 (file photo of type, right) had been chartered for a New Jersey corporate group and none of the four men and two women aboard was seriously injured. As a precaution, all were taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center, police Lt. Jimmy Bell said.

Witness and neighbor Al Schwartz, a ceramics artist who lives next to Gannon's property, told the Honolulu Advertiser he came out of his studio after hearing a loud helicopter noise about 3:45 pm. Two helicopters landed on Gannon's lawn and sat for about 10 minutes with their rotors spinning while taking on passengers, he said.

"The first one took off and went over the pineapple fields. About three minutes later, the second one started to take off in the same direction and hit the corner of the yard," Schwartz said. "I never saw it get above the trees."

According to Schwartz, the second helicopter apparently made contact with a jacaranda tree at a height of 10 to 20 feet then crashed to the ground. "The noise was incredible," he said, noting winds were gusty at the time.

Some on the crowd that had gathered on Gannon's lawn to watch the aircraft leave began screaming Schwartz said. "There were some scared people," he said. "One lady was hysterical. I think her husband was on the helicopter."

None of the passengers seemed hurt, although a female passenger was taken away from the scene on a stretcher but was later seen walking around, he said.

Sunshine Helicopters officials on scene declined to comment to the Advertiser.

The helicopters were transporting people from the property to a Kapalua resort and were part of a corporate group of about 50 people from Princeton, NJ, Bell said. It is unknown why they were on the Gannon property. Gannon could not be reached for comment according to the newspaper.

Gannon, along with her husband Joe, owns the Hali'imaile General Store and Joe's Bar & Grill restaurants on Maui and is also one of the founders of the Pacific Regional Cuisine movement.

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 130WS        Make/Model: EC13      Description: EUROCOPTER
  Date: 04/20/2007     Time: 0151

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: MAKAWAO   State: HI   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  SUNSHINE HELICOPTERS, N130WS, A EUROCOPTER EC140 ROTORCRAFT, EXPERIENCED
  POWER PROBLEM AT AND CRASHED INTO A YARD, NO INJURIES REPORTED, MAKAWAO,
  MAUI, HI

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   5     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: 04019G29 10SM FEW090 27/17 A3003

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  Departed: KAHULUI, HI                 Dep Date:    Dep. Time:     
  Destination: MAKAWAO, HI              Flt Plan:              Wx Briefing: 
  Last Radio Cont: 
  Last Clearance: 

  FAA FSDO: HONOLULU, HI  (WP13)                  Entry date: 04/23/2007

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.sunshinehelicopters.com/

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