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Helicopter Accidents in Hawaii Are Becoming a Growing Problem

A honeymooning couple was killed in Hawaii when the helicopter they were in crashed over the scenic island of Molokai last November. The couple had only been married six days when the tour helicopter they were on lost altitude in bad weather and crashed into a mountain ridge. The tour pilot and two tourists from Ontario also lost their lives in this tragic crash. Tourists are drawn to the Hawaiian islands in part by the adventures which take them into hidden valleys, tropical rain forests, volcanic landscapes and hidden beaches — experiences which might be out of range for many without the prolific helicopter industry. The International Helicopter Safety Team is striving to cut the accident rate for helicopters by 80% by 2016 to take care of a problem which appears to be growing worse instead of better.

Over a hundred thousand helicopter air tour flights carry tourists across the islands, allowing them to view the beautiful natural resources of Hawaii by air. Unfortunately, many of the sightseeing tours are owned or operated by small companies which may engage in substandard procedures. While many people assume sightseeing charter companies and helicopter tours operate under the same standards as commercial airlines, in truth, they simply don’t. The result is that these privately-owned aircraft can be much more susceptible to crashes than commercial aircrafts. Some of the potential factors involved in helicopter crashes include:

  • Inclement weather, including fog or rain
  • Aircraft manufacturing or design defects
  • Pilot inexperience or lack of training
  • Negligent aircraft operation
  • Poorly maintained aircraft

Hawaii has one of the highest helicopter crash rates in the United States. Aside from the factors listed above, the lower flight altitude of helicopters in this region, which are meant to provide more stunning views to passengers, can also lead to helicopter crashes. Aviation accidents can be extremely complex, devastating the families of the victims, and causing those who survive the crash to have such serious injuries that their lives are forever changed.

The attorneys at Shim & Chang possess the technical knowledge as well as over three decades of experience to help those who have suffered from injuries or death sustained as a result of a helicopter crash. Our attorneys have the necessary resources required to investigate and litigate helicopter crash cases.

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Roy K. S. Chang

With more than 30 years of practical and trial experience handling all types of personal injury cases, Roy K. S. Chang has molded Shim & Chang into a highly creative and innovative law firm that honors the Hawaiian spirit of aloha. He has achieved an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the national directory of attorneys, indicating…

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With his unique name and background, Harvey M. Demetrakopoulos' character and experience have greatly added to the creative and innovative approach of Shim & Chang. He has been with the firm since 1996, exclusively handling personal injury cases. Raised in Honolulu, Harvey graduated from Kaimuki High School and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa…

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