By Andrea Romano
December 27, 2019
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The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a helicopter carrying seven people, including a pilot and two children, that went missing on a tour of the island of Kauai in Hawaii on Thursday, USA Today reported.

The helicopter was first noticed as missing on Thursday afternoon around 5:21 p.m. local time after the owner of the tour company reported that the aircraft did not return when it was scheduled, according to USA Today. The U.S. Coast Guard resumed their search on Friday morning around sunrise.

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The Coast Guard has sent in its own helicopter crews to search for the missing aircraft, which may have crashed on the island due to poor weather conditions. According to USA Today, the weather on Thursday afternoon was cloudy and rainy, with winds up to 28 miles per hour. It is estimated that aircraft had visibility for up to four miles at the time. Friday’s conditions are similar, with winds up to 23 miles per hour and waves up to six feet, The Weather Channel reported.

The missing helicopter has an electronic locator, but no signal has been detected, according to The Weather Channel.

The Coast Guard has specially trained crews to help navigate the search and rescue mission, despite the bad weather. “The weather conditions are challenging. We have trained crews responding and on scene searching for any signs of the helicopter and those aboard,” said Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox to USA Today.

Helicopter tours of Kauai’s Na Pali coast are very popular with tourists, though weather conditions can certainly dictate whether tours will go ahead or not. Hawaii’s rugged environment is certainly beautiful, but there are many dangerous parts of the islands like active volcanoes, unpredictable tides, and strong rainstorms that should always be taken into account before visiting.