Downtown chopper crash captured on videoUPDATED 6:10 PM HST May 09, 2013Video Transcript
lands in the middle of downtown... There MUST be video. There is... And WE HAVE IT! Good evening, I'm Paula Akana. The incredible surveillance video shows the moment when the chopper hit the ground from three different angles, and will be part of the investigation into what went wrong. Andrew Pereira has this KITV4 EXCLUSIVE! Looks like a normal Wednesday afternoon along Fort Street in downtown Honolulu. Not for long! Watch this! A Robinson-22 chopper belonging to Mauna Loa Helicopters skids past a surveillance camera at Kukui Plaza. This time... we'll slow it down MICHAEL LAKEY: "I WAS SHOCKED THAT IT MADE IT DOWN THROUGH FT. STREET THERE WITHOUT REALLY KILLING ANYBODY OR THEMSELVES... IT WAS AMAZING." The chopper hit the pavement at exactly 3:19 p.m... when people ARE out and about.. And using these sidewalks. MICHAEL LAKEY: "IT CAN BE PRETTY BUSY, ESPECIALLY WITH THE HPU GOING IN AND OUT, THEY HAVE A BUS STOP THAT'S ACTUALLY ON THAT STREET." You can see the chopper skidding past a camera before it crashes into a car... and white smoke billows upwards. Somebody walks out onto Ft. Street for a closer look. We showed the video to attorney TJ lane, who has extensive flight time behind the controls of a Robinson-22, the type of chopper piloted by Julia Link. TJ LANE: "IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING GIVEN THE CONFINED AREA IN WHICH THE PILOT HAD TO LAND THE HELICOPTER BECAUSE SHE WAS OUT OF FUEL, OR NOT GETTING ANY FUEL. THE AUTO ROTATION SHE ENTERED WAS BRILLIANT." Lane says a chopper pilot only has 2-3 seconds to enter auto-rotation before the aircraft falls like a rock. Operating the controls requires steady nerve, as well as both feet and hands. TJ LANE: "AND YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER THE BUILDINGS, PEOPLE ON THE GROUND, STATIONARY OBJECTS ON THE GROUND." Lane estimates at 3,000 feet, Link ONLY had 45 to 50 seconds from the time the engine died, to the time she hit the ground. TJ LANE: "THIS PILOT WAS 30- YEARS-OLD, THE SKILL LEVEL SEEMS TO BE SOMEBODY WHO HAS BEEN FLYING FOR A MUCH LONGER PERIOD OF TIME - IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING." FAA officials obtained copies of the video this afternoon, which will be part of a National Transportation Safety Board investigation.