Teen dies after helicopter crash at Pearl Harbor

(KHON Photo)

HONOLULU (KHON) — A teenager injured when a helicopter went down in waters near the USS Arizona Memorial last Thursday, Feb. 18, has died.

Gidget Ruscetta, chief operating officer at Pali Momi Medical Center, confirmed the 16-year-old was pronounced dead Monday, Feb. 22.

The full statement follows:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that the 16-year-old involved in Thursday’s helicopter crash was pronounced dead today at Pali Momi Medical Center. Two family members remain in stable condition and continue to receive care at Pali Momi. Another family member was treated Thursday at an area hospital and released.

So that the 16-year-old’s memory lives on, the family has chosen to donate his organs to patients in need. No additional information regarding the family’s medical condition will be released at this time.

Witnesses say they saw the chopper when it was about 30 yards offshore and knew right away that something was terribly wrong.

Five people were on board.

“It kept sputtering, very erratic flying, probably 20 yards from shore, maybe 30 feet up, looks like he cut the prop, because the helicopter dropped down and hit the water probably 20 yards offshore, sat there for about 20 seconds bobbing, then it went under,” said witness Daniel Rose. “Guys started going in the water, diving down. Two people came up.”

Four passengers were brought to the shore, but the teen was still trapped inside.

Bystanders rushed to help. Juan Valerio was one of them.

“Our hearts dropped to the bottom of our stomachs, because we did what all we could do under the circumstances,” he said. “Even though we did all that to find out the young man did not make it, our hearts really feel heavy for that family.”

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are inspecting the wreckage to determine what happened.

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