After crash in Hawaii, NTSB requests inspection of helicopters across the country

U.S. safety officials are calling for immediate inspection of certain Bell helicopters based on findings from their investigation into a crash in Hawaii

Federal officials investigating a helicopter crash in Hawaii are urging U.S. and Canadian regulators to require immediate inspections of Bell helicopters that are commonly used by air tour operators, law enforcement and air ambulances.

The National Transportation Safety Board call on Friday stems from the agency’s investigation of a June sightseeing crash in which the tail boom separated from the main body of a Bell 407 helicopter during a flight near Kalea, Hawaii. 

The tail boom was found more than 700 feet from the main wreckage. The board said one of four hardware fittings used to attach the tail to the fuselage was not found at the accident site, and that there were fractures in the other three fittings.

The pilot and two passengers suffered serious injuries and three other passengers had minor injuries in the Hawaii crash, which occurred in a field of jagged lava rocks.

The NTSB recommended in a report that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Transport Canada require operators of Bell 407s to conduct immediate checks of similar hardware to look for signs of cracked or missing parts, and to require repeat inspections more often than the current requirement, which is every 300 flight hours.