CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago woman was among three people killed when a tour helicopter crashed and burst into flames in Hawaii on Monday.
Ryan McAuliffe, 28, was one of two passengers in the four-seat Robinson R44 helicopter when it crashed nose-first onto a busy highway on the east coast of Oahu.
The pilot, 28-year-old Joseph Berridge, and another passenger, Jan Burgess, a grandmother from Australia, also died in the wreck.
Berridge’s father said he moved to Honolulu from Albuquerque two weeks ago.
“It was always my son’s dream to go to Hawaii and fly tours for a couple of years,” Bobby Berridge said. His son’s girlfriend and dog were preparing to join him.
Joseph Berridge loved helicopters and also had an instructor’s license, according to his father.
“I talked to him about three or four days ago. He was on the beach enjoying life,” Bobby Berridge said. “He said, ‘Who has it better than I do?'”
Authorities said autopsies determined all three victims died of multiple blunt force injuries from the crash. The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office said toxicology and other testing required by the Federal Aviation Administration could take weeks or months.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.
“I don’t know what happened with the crash, but he was a great helicopter pilot and he knew what he was doing,” Bobby Berridge said. “I’m not going to point fingers at this time.”
Novictor Helicopters, which operated the helicopter tour, also was involved in a crash last October, which injured two people when the pilot suffered a medical emergency.