Federal investigators release more information on flight's final moments
KAUAI, Hawaii (KYMA, KSWT, KECY/NBC News) - We're learning more about the final moments of the tour helicopter that crashed in Hawaii last week.
Federal investigators say it hit a ridge on the island of Kauai at an altitude of 29-hundred feet. They say the helicopter burst into flames and fell 100-feet.
The crash killed the pilot, a family of four from Switzerland, and a 47-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl from Wisconsin.
Experts say Kauai's weather and topography pose unique challenges to pilots. The Federal Aviation Administration says the pilot, 69-year-old Paul Matero, did not have an instrument rating. Such a rating allows pilots to fly in bad weather.
However, the owner of the helicopter tour company said Matero had 12-years of experience flying over Kauai. Preston Myers of Safari Tours called him "a seasoned member of our team."
Investigators plan to recover the wreckage from the remote crash site, but say it will be difficult. They say the combination of steep cliffs and thick vegetation make it one of the most challenging sites they've ever seen.