| Air, sea, ground search for Hawaii copter with 7 aboard

No trace has been found of a helicopter missing in Hawaii with seven people aboard but an air, sea and ground search was to continue at daybreak on Friday, the United States Coast Guard said.

The owner of the tour helicopter reported it missing just after 18:00 on Thursday, 45 minutes after it was due back from a tour of the Na Pali coast on Kauai island, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

It did not identify the owner of the helicopter.

“The search continues for the seven people and any sign of the aircraft on Kauai,” Lieutenant Chloe Harmon, of the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu, said in the news release.

At first light, a Coast Guard Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, along with a Coast Guard boat, would continue the search, the statement said.

They will be assisted later in the morning by a Coast Guard cutter and US Navy helicopter.

Helicopter searches along the island’s northwest on Thursday night took place in “challenging” weather, with clouds, rain and winds of up to 45km/hr, the Coast Guard said earlier.

Hawaii’s fourth largest island features sharp mountain peaks, jagged cliffs and tropical rainforests.

The island’s fire department is coordinating ground searches of the shoreline.

“There are no signs of the helicopter,” the Coast Guard said.

No signals have been received from an electronic locator on board the missing chopper, which carried a pilot and six passengers, it said, adding that a small-craft advisory is in effect, with winds again forecast at 28 mph on Friday.

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