The report does not describe a pilot’s distress call and does not speculate on the cause of the accident, which occurred on the afternoon of December 26 on the island of Kauai.
The witness told the NTSB that he was on a hiking trail in Koke’e State Park when he heard a “floating helicopter followed by a loud groan.”
The pilot of the Safari Helicopters letter was last heard on aviation radio giving a routine control call when he left Waimea Canyon on Kauai Island. A search operation began when the helicopter arrived 10 minutes late for its expected return at Lihue airport without contact.
The NTSB said the pilot was on his eighth and last scheduled tour of the day the helicopter fell.
Four members of a Swiss family died in the accident. The Kauai Police Department identified them as Sylvie Winteregg, 50; Christophe Winteregg, 49; Alice Winteregg, 13 years old; and Agathe Winteregg, 10.
The other passengers who were killed were Amy Gannon, 47, and Jocelyn Gannon, 13. The pilot was Paul Matero, 69.