Kauai News

Report: NTSB Cites FAA Failures That Led up to Crash That Killed 7

Posted May 10, 2022, 12:07 PM HST

The National Transportation Safety Board found that the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision not to adopt safety recommendations was among the factors that preceded a 2019 helicopter crash on Kaua‘i that killed seven people.

Hawai‘i News Now reported on Tuesday, May 10 that NTSB detailed its findings on Tuesday during its first in-person board meeting since 2020.

The aircraft went down about 30 minutes into the Dec. 26, 2019 flight in an area of low visibility due to adverse weather investigators concluded, the article stated.

The NTSB had previously recommended the FAA to require air taxi and air tour operators to implement safety management recommendations, but it had declined to implement such measures, investigators added. The FAA also declined to heed the NTSB’s recommendation to develop inflight weather training for air tour operators in Hawai‘i that could’ve helped the pilot in this situation, the article reports.

“They said their findings suggest the pilot — 69-year-old Paul Matero, who was described by colleagues as “safety conscious” — did not maintain a required 3-mile visibility during the flight, which occurred during a period of deteriorating conditions in the area,” the article states.

Four adults and three children were on board the Safari Helicopters tour of the Na Pali Coast when it crashed into a heavily forested area of steep terrain.

The other victims included families from Wisconsin and Switzerland.