Wreckage of a Hawaii tour helicopter with 7 people aboard found

The tour of Kauai's Nā Pali Coast was due back at 5:21 p.m. on Thursday.

A wreckage of a Hawaii tour helicopter carrying seven people that hadn't been heard from in more than 24 hours has been found, police announced Friday evening.

The chopper, which had six passengers, including two children, and the pilot aboard, was off Nā Pali Coast and scheduled to return Thursday at 5:21 p.m., according to the Coast Guard. It did not report back to the base and last made contact at 4:30 p.m. when the pilot announced that they were leaving the Waimea Canyon area, according to a press release issued by the Kaua'i Police Department.

The wreckage of the Safari Helicopter Tours company chopper was found in Kōke'e near Nu'alolo, officials said.

The remains of six of the seven individuals on board were recovered Friday, according to Battalion Chief Kilipaki Vaughan. Officials are still in the process of notifying next-of-kin and have not released any names to the public. The six passengers were part of two families; one party of two and another party of four.

"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these passengers," said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. "Operations continue and we are doing everything we can at this time.

Officials said rescue operations would resume Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending three officials to Hawaii to investigate Thursday's fatal crash.

The helicopter was equipped with an electronic locator, but officials said that no signals had been received.

Nearly 80 percent of Kauai is uninhabited, and much of that is a state park that most helicopter tours include as a point of interest.

Officials said Friday the wreckage was located in a steep, remote area.

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