UPDATE 11:06 AM - May 9th

The National Transportation Safety Board released the preliminary report on the deadly helicopter crash in Kailua Thursday morning.

The full preliminary report is pictured here:


UPDATE 6:30 A.M. - May 1st

The third victim, a great-grandmother, Jan Burgess from Australia. She's called Jammie by family and was visiting Hawaii on vacation.

UPDATE 10:38 P.M.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner identified the pilot involved in the deadly helicopter crash as 28-year-old Joseph Berridge. 

According to his father, Berridge moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico to O'ahu just two weeks ago, for what he called his dream job as a helicopter tour pilot.

One of the two female passengers on board has been identified as 28-year-old Ryan McAuliffe of Chicago, Illinois. 

The cause of death for all three victims was multiple blunt force injuries due to the crash. 

The roads and driveways remained taped off through the day so investigators could comb through the debris and wreckage. For some, more so than the inconvenience of a road closure, seeing the crumpled chopper was painful reminder of the deadly crash that ended in flames and twisted metal, a memory that is still uncomfortably fresh in their minds. 

On Tuesday while they mourned the lives lost, they are also thankful that more people were not hurt or killed when the chopper came crashing down.

"Everyone was running everyone wanted to help first thing I did was start crying because it could've been our house or any of the homes," Kailua resident Carol Knappenberger said. 

"If we hadn't seen it who knows what would've happened, so I'm thankful that I am here but I'm sorry for the families and their loss, my daughter said to me, 'Mom we just watched three people lose their life, I'll never forget this," Resident Melissa Solomon said. 


UPDATE 7:30 P.M.

All roadways are now open on Oneawa Street at Kalolina Street where a helicopter crashed in Kailua Monday, killing all three passengers on board the helicopter. 

This story will be updated as more details become available.


UPDATE 4:22 P.M.

The Medical Examiner’s Department has released the identities of two of the three people killed in the commercial helicopter crash in Kailua on Monday.

The Robinson R44 helicopter was piloted by Joseph G. Berridge, 28. Two women were on board the helicopter with Berridge. One of the victims has been identified as Ryan McAuliffe, 28, of Chicago, Illinois. Identification of the third victim is pending.

Autopsy examinations performed this morning found the cause of death for all three individuals was “multiple blunt force injuries due to helicopter crash.”

Additional testing, including toxicology testing and testing required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is also being performed. However, those results are not expected for several weeks or months.   

Additional investigation into the cause of the crash will be spearheaded by the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, and the FAA. 


UPDATE 4/30/19 1:00 P.M.

ABC Affiliate KVIA in El Paso, Texas has confirmed one of those on board the helicopter as Joseph Berridge. 

It is unclear whether he was a passenger or pilot in the fatal accident. Records show that Berridge received multiple pilot licenses in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

9 A.M.

NTSB investigators were on scene in Kailua. They will have area blocked off for two days before moving chopper to secure area to finish investigation.

"The local police department is controlling the dispersed wreckage, we will go and look at each piece, we will get lat longs to know exactly where it's at, we'll itemize it, categorize it, and recover it," said Fabian Salazar, NTSB Air Safety Investigator.

They also say it could take around 5 months before initial cause is released.

Salazar went on to say, "As we get into our investigation we'll look into three things, man, machine and environment. When we look into the machine we're looking like today at the wreckage, the man we will look at the pilot, we'll look at his qualifications and his certifications, the environment is not only going to deal with weather but with air traffic control and things like flight plan."

UPDATE 4/29/19 7 P.M.

A fiery helicopter crash Monday morning shocked a Kailua residential neighborhood. 
Pictures taken moments after show flames coming out of the aircraft. Witnesses say everything happened within 15 seconds.

"All of a sudden I said boom, started to fall apart. I saw the piece coming towards me and I said the helicopter started coming towards me so I said okay, run," witness Keith Yoshikawa said.

"Oneawa is a very busy street, especially during the morning hours. People going to work, going to school. They could've impacted a bigger part of the community so we was fortunate that it only happened in one, isolated area," Lieutenant Wayne Wong said.

The Federal Aviation Administration reports the aircraft was a four-seat Robinson R44 helicopter. 

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, neighbors tried to control the fire with garden hoses, then firefighters arrived, and extinguished the flame in 20 minutes.

"Our folks went ahead and took over from the great neighbors that were trying to do their very best and put the fire out," HFD Captain Scot Seguirant said.

The Honolulu Emergency Services Department was responding to another call in the area when paramedics heard a loud bang. 

"Our paramedics turned around without second hesitation and they were in there trying to get them out along, we can't say enough about the neighbors trying to get them out of the helicopter," Shayne Enright of Emergency Medical Services said.
The identities of the three people who died on board the helicopter have not yet been released. 


UPDATE 6:16 P.M.

Councilmember Ikaika Anderson released the following statement in response to the tragic helicopter crash in Kailua: 

My heart goes out to the families of those lost in today's tragic helicopter accident. Our office frequently refers constituents who have expressed concern with commercial helicopter traffic to the Federal Aviation Administration as the City does not have regulatory authority over air traffic. This tragedy is a real wake-up call and I call on the FAA to rein-in commercial helicopter traffic over residential districts. 

U.S. Congressman Ed Case also released the following statement Monday in connection with the tragic helicopter crash in Kailua:

“My heart goes out to those lost today and their loved ones.  I extend also my appreciation to the first responders who worked the scene of this incident and am grateful that no one on the ground was injured due to the crash.”

“I urge the National Transportation Safety Board to conduct its investigation to the full extent and release its report publicly as soon as possible.”

“While our thoughts today are with those who were lost and theirs, clearly there are major issues with tour helicopters throughout Hawai’i that must be addressed, and my commitment is to pursue substantially increased regulation to assure public safety and quality of life.”

Novictor Helicopters, the helicopter tour company that operated the aircraft released the following statement Monday afternoon:

Novictor Helicopters is saddened to report that one of our tour helicopters, a Robinson R44 aircraft, crashed at Oneawa Street around 9:00 a.m. today, April 29, 2019.  Tragically, the three people on board (two passengers and the pilot) did not survive. This accident is heartbreaking for everyone, especially the families and friends of the passengers and pilot, who was part of our Novictor family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of them. 

The safety and welfare of our personnel and passengers are our top priority. We are actively cooperating with the authorities to determine the cause of this accident, including working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in their investigation. 

We also wish to express our gratitude to the Emergency Services Department and the community for their efforts in extending immediate help at the scene. 


UPDATE 4:18 P.M.

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services crews report that the debris field from the crash is large and extends to over 600 feet near the Kailua Racquet Club.

A huge piece of debris crashed down on a rental car that was located 100 yards away from the crash. 

A woman visiting from Alabama, Megan Lacy, tells KITV4 that she thought two cars had gotten into an accident. 

"So we heard a crash, we came out and I mean we weren't expecting to really see anything except maybe two cars had hit each other. And so we came out and we looked at the car and we were really confused. And then we heard screaming and the word fire and I saw smoke over there and so we walked over to the corner and we saw a helicopter on fire," Lacy said. 

According to Lacy, immediately after the crash it started pouring rain in the area. 


UPDATE 3:49 P.M.

Honolulu firefighters responded to the helicopter crash in Kailua with seven fire units and 24 personnel including HFD's helicopter, Air 1.

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 9:18 a.m. and found the crashed helicopter on fire in the roadway fronting Oneawa Street.

Neighbors were assisting and attempting to control the fire with garden hoses. 

The fire was brought under control at 9:23 a.m. and extinguished at 9:40 a.m. Monday. 

The three victims of the crash were pronounced dead upon arrival. According to HFD, neighbors pulled one victim from the burning wreckage.


First responders headed to Kailua on O'ahu Monday morning after reports of a downed chopper.

The FAA says a Robinson R44 helicopter crashed around 9 a.m. in Kailua, and believes there were three people on board.

FAA records show it’s registered to United Helicopter Leasing, which is managed by Nicole Vandelaar. She is a pilot and the founder and CEO of the Novictor Helicopters tour company.

The Honolulu Fire Department has confirmed three are dead.

The crash happened on Oneawa Street, and the road has subsequently been shut down. 

A woman said she was headed out of her house Monday morning when a fuel tank came off the chopper and hit her car. 

No injuries have been reported on the ground.

"All I saw was the helicopter pretty low, so I said okay I wanna see where it is, so I backed away from there so I could see at that angle and I saw the helicopter, all of a sudden I said boom, I said ohh it started to fall apart, I said ohh I saw the piece coming towards me and I said okay run so I ran but why the time I turned around it was already out on the road," said Keith Yoshikawa who witnessed the incident.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate.

Representative Cynthia Thielen released the following statement, "My heart goes out to the victims of this horrific helicopter crash in Kailua. This happened in our residential area, where the only helicopters flying should be emergency-, military- and police-related – not tourism-related or commercial helicopters that kill and endanger occupants and people on the ground. I believe that all tour helicopters should be grounded until the authorities have assessed this situation."

2-25th Aviation Regiment also posted their condolences via Facebook.

This is the second time in less than six months that Novictor Helicopters been involved in a crash.

Last October, one of its choppers went down on the sand bar at Kaneohe Bay after a pilot suffered a medical condition. All three occupants on board survived but sustained serious injuries.