Hawaii helicopter crash wreckage removal begins, NTSB says

NTSB investigators are developing plans to recover the wreckage of the air tour helicopter that crashed on Kauai. (Source: NTSB)
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (Hawaii News Now, WMTV)--- The NTSB is beginning to remove the wreckage of a Kauai tour helicopter that crashed last week and killed the pilot and all six passenger, including a Madison woman and her daughter.

On Tuesday, the NTSB released an image of the crash site in a remote and rugged area of Kokee, about 13 miles north of Hanapepe. The agency said the helicopter “collided with terrain” at 4:57 p.m. Dec. 26. According to Kauai County, that’s 17 minutes after authorities made their final contact with the chopper’s pilot.

Other details released by the NTSB Tuesday include:

  • The helicopter hit a ridge at an altitude of 2,900 feet then fell about 100 feet.
  • After the crash, the helicopter burst into flames.

Investigators are hoping to move the wreckage to a secure location in the days ahead. The terrain where the helicopter crashed has been complicating matters. Federal investigators are calling the area one of the most challenging sites they have seen.

“We have recovered as much as we can from the site so that families can hopefully find some sense of closure,” said Kauai Police Department assistant Chief Bryson Ponce, in a news release Tuesday.

Kauai authorities also released the identities of a family of four from Switzerland that was on the downed aircraft on Tuesday.

Kauai County said they could confirm the identities of the family as Christophe and Sylvie Winteregg, ages 49 and 50, respectively, and their children, 13-year-old Alice and 10-year-old Agathe.

Authorities had previously identified the pilot as 69-year-old Paul Matero. The two other passengers were visiting from Wisconsin: 47-year-old Amy Gannon, and her 13-year-old daughter, Jocelyn.

Amy Gannon co-founded Doyenne, which helps women with entrepreneurship. Colleagues described her as an unforgettable leader and someone who lit up the room with her presence.

Her daughter, Jocelyn, attended Hamilton Middle School in Madison and a hard-working gymnast at Gymfinity in Fitchburg.