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A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration says a helicopter made a hard landing near the Hilo Airport Thursday afternoon.
The incident happened at about 1:15 p.m. when the chopper, owned by Paradise Helicopters, declared an emergency for engine failure as it was approaching the airport.
According to the FAA, the helicopter auto-rotated into a field near the airport and came to rest on its side. Five people were on board, but no injuries were reported.
“Was immediately reported to the FAA and NTSB. We shut down our operations for the rest of the day in order to review our safety procedures and make sure everything was okay. And the cause is under investigation,” Director of Business Development Rob Payesko said.
The family of four that was aboard the helicopter is thankful to be alive after their tour helicopter made the hard landing.
Passenger Paul Smith says he was worried the moment the helicopter took off.
“First thing I did was check the fuel gauge. It was about a quarter of a tank or less. We took a ride on the tour route to the volcano. We got the volcanoes and the pilot said ‘oh my gosh we’re using more fuel than I thought, we need to get back.’ As we’re proceeding back, I was looking at the gauge. I was really worried and really praying we’d make it back,” Smith said.
“It’s the most important thing is the fact that we were able to get everyone off the helicopter without any injuries of any type,” said Payesko.
The FAA is investigating.