A helicopter with seven people onboard that failed to return from a tour off Kauai's Napali coast in Hawaii late Thursday. Two of passengers are believed to be minors.
Helicopter tours are common above the island of Kauai, much of which is a state park. The owner of the helicopter contacted the Coast Guard about 45 minutes after the aircraft was due back. The aircraft is equipped with an electronic locator, but no signals have been received. Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, of Coast Guard Joint Rescue Command Center Honolulu, said weather conditions in the search area are "challenging" with low visibility and blustery winds. The Coast Guard has launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, a cutter and other resources to search for the missing helicopter. Friday’s forecast predicted winds at around 23 mph.
Further searches are scheduled with a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane and crew and a fresh Dolphin helicopter crew. Support from the U.S. Navy was expected to arrive. Nearly 80 percent of Kauai is uninhabited. Common points of interest include Jurassic Park Falls, the Hanapepe Valley, Waimea Canyon, the Nā Pali Coast, the Hanalei Valley, and Mt. Waialeale.