4 killed after military-contracted helicopter crashes in US Hawaii

In this file photo taken on Feb 20, 2022, a Huntington Beach Police helicopter is lifted out of the water in Newport Beach, California (MINDY SCHAUER / AP)

LOS ANGELES – Four people were killed Tuesday after a military-contracted helicopter crashed on the Hawaii island of Kauai, US media reported, citing officials.

The crashed helicopter was operated by Croman Corporation, an Oregon-based contractor, which provides "range support" to the missile facility, Hawaii News Now reported

The crash happened at about 10 am Tuesday local time near Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility during a training operation, Hawaii News Now, a major local news outlet, reported, adding that the identities of those killed and whether they were civilians or in the military was not released.

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Images posted on social media showed black smoke billowing from the crash site near the coastline.

The US National Transportation Safety Board confirmed in a tweet that it's investigating the "crash of a Sikorsky S-61N helicopter near Kekaha, Hawaii."

The crashed helicopter was operated by Croman Corporation, an Oregon-based contractor, which provides "range support" to the missile facility, Hawaii News Now reported.

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On the company's website, Croman Corporation claimed to be "one of the most experienced operators of Sikorsky S-61 helicopters in the world," operating a mix of twelve standard and restricted category S-61 series helicopters and three Bell 206B Jet Rangers.

The versatile platform of the S-61 can easily be configured to meet a wide variety of applications, the company said in an introduction of the helicopter.