Two couples on a Hawaiian helicopter sight-seeing tour perished with their pilot in a fiery mountainside crash that witnesses attributed to a sudden storm front that blew across the island of Molokai.
One couple, from the Philadelphia area, was on their honeymoon. The other vacationing couple was from Toronto, Canada. The 30 year-old pilot was also newlywed.
The tour helicopter, a Eurocopter EC-130, was less than a year old.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived on scene to determine what caused the crash. There is no official word yet.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, the operator of the tour, flies about 160,000 tours annually in the islands. It had a crash in July, 2000, which was fatal to seven people. That crash was determined, by the NTSB, to have been caused by pilot error in not maintaining sufficient altitude over terrain in low flying clouds.
Other tour helicopter crashes, including ones in Manhattan and Majorca, Spain, have raised concerns over safety in recent years.
The NTSB report may help grieving families determine if there is a viable cause of action for wrongful death, or if "accidents happen" without any wrongful act, neglect or default of those involved.