Mechanic takes blame for downtown helicopter crash landing

Brant Swigart

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New video has been released following Wednesday’s helicopter crash landing in downtown Honolulu.

The Kukui Plaza condominium captured the crash landing on surveillance video.

No one was seriously injured, but a parked car was damaged.

While a federal investigation is underway, someone is already taking the blame.

After inspecting the wreckage, a helicopter mechanic says it was his fault.

It was the call that Brant Swigart always dreaded receiving.

“George’s aviation called me and his wife was driving by and she said she saw an orange helicopter in the street in downtown Honolulu,” Swigart said.

Swigart owns the company that inspects Mauna Loa helicopters and knew that this was one they had recently worked on.

“That helicopter had just come out of a major overhaul that my company performed and I just knew that it was us. I just knew– it was really a double hit,” Swigart said.

The wreckage was hauled off to Swigart’s hangar for thorough inspection. That’s when he found a broken fuel cable.

But it’s what he discovered next that was gut-wrenching.

“We actually felt it and realized that by touching it, it hadn’t been rigged correctly, so that’s when I knew definitively that it was our fault,” Swigart said.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it won’t likely have a full report on the crash for another week, but Swigart wanted to come forward and say things he felt the FAA might not.

“Again, how utterly heroic the flying job was that Julia Link did, and express my appreciation and apologies to everyone who might have been traumatized by it,” Swigart said. “It would be easy to point out their accident history. Look at their safety record instead, and they’re actually producing really top-quality pilots.”

As for his company, “I’d like to say that we do our best all the time, but our best is gonna have to get better,” Swigart said.


Helicopter crash lands in downtown Honolulu

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