Six hospitalised after tourist helicopter crashes in Hawaiian lava field

Officials are still trying to determine the cause of the crash

Related video: Helicopter crashes into sea

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A tourist helicopter carrying six people crashed into a Hawaiian lava field, leaving two passengers in critical condition.

On Wednesday, five passengers chartered a tour with Paradise Helicopters to explore the Big Island. The helicopter reportedly crashed just before 5.30pm while flying over Kau, the Big Island's southernmost district.

Emergency responders rushed to the lava fields where the helicopter crashed and began recovery efforts. Two of the passengers were found to be in critical condition. Initial reports from the crash suggested that all six of the helicopter's occupants were taken to nearby hospitals.

First responders could not access the crash site using ground vehicles, forcing them to use a helicopter to shuttle the injured to waiting ambulances.

According to officials, the pilot was trapped in the wreckage and rescuers had to dig through the twisted metal to conduct an extraction.

According to Hawaii News Now, one of the passengers who was seriously injured in the crash was a 19-year-old woman. She was airlifted from the scene to the Kona Community Hospital.

Among the rest of the passengers were two other teenage girls, a 23-year-old man, a 48-year-old man, and a 54-year-old man.

It is unclear based on initial reports what went wrong during the flight to bring the helicopter down. Paradise Helicopters said it is cooperating with law enforcement to get to the bottom of the crash.

“The care of our passengers, crew members and their families is our highest priority,” Calvin Dorn, of K&S Helicopters, said. K&S operates Paradise Helicopters.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

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