MOLOKAI, HAWAII – Maui County officials are confirming that five people were killed today when a helicopter they were flying in crashed on the east end of Molokai just after noon.

The crash victims have been identified, including the male pilot, but their names have not been released. The other victims include two men and two women.

Four bodies were immediately recovered; a fifth was believed to be under the wreckage.

The helicopter is owned by Blue Hawaiian helicopters, a company based on Maui. (See a youtube video report on a Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour over Molokai here)

A statement from Maui county said: “The chaplain for the Maui Police Department is on scene at Blue Hawaiian helicopters and is working with the company employees during this time of grief. The Maui Visitors Bureau is also involved and working with the victim’s families.”

The Maui Fire Department, which is involved in the investigation, said the helicopter went down mauka (mountain side) of Kilohana School off of Kamehameha V Highway. No one else was injured. Firefighters must travel to the scene by ATVs.

There are high wind gusts and heavy rain showers moving throughout the islands today.

Molokai has the highest sea cliffs in the world with some of the most spectacular scenery. Fire officials said Molokai has had considerbable rain and strong wind today and that may have caused or contributed to the crash.

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board officials have been notified and are aware of the situation.

Fire fighters said the crash did cause a brush fire but that flames were limited to the crash site only.

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