Update 3:35 p.m.: Missing chopper located, no survivors
Rescue crews have located the wreckage of a missing helicopter with two people aboard on Molokai’s east end Wednesday afternoon, and there were no survivors, Fire Services Chief Ed Taomoto said.
At 1:31 p.m., the Maui Fire Department’s Air One helicopter spotted the wreckage about 1.3 miles mauka of Kamehameha V Highway, near 793 Kamehameha V Highway. Fire rescue crew members were dropped on the crash site from a helicopter.
Honolulu attorney Gary Galiher was on board the missing chopper, Ilana Waxman, managing partner with Gailher DeRobertis Waxman, confirmed Wednesday morning.
The helicopter departed Honolulu on Tuesday evening and did not arrive on Molokai as scheduled, the U.S. Coast Guard said. At 6:55 a.m. Wednesday, the helicopter was reported overdue, and 911 operators notified the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center.
The Fire Department’s Air One helicopter, an HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station at Barbers Point, and the Coast Guard cutter Kittiwake were involved in the search Wednesday.
The Coast Guard reported weather conditions Wednesday as party sunny with showers and winds blowing 21 to 23 mph.
Waxman said Galiher was piloting the helicopter with a friend of his on board.
“He’s an extremely experienced pilot,” Waxman said. “He’s made this trip many, many times.”
Galiher has a home on Molokai’s east end and has traveled back and forth between there and Oahu for many years, Waxman said.