The owner of the helicopter contacted the Coast Guard about 45 minutes after the aircraft was due back from a tour of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast on Thursday evening, a news release said.
The helicopter has an electronic locator, but no signals had been received, according to the bulletin.
The helicopter was carrying a pilot and six passengers, two of whom were believed to be minors, the release said.
“The weather conditions are challenging,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. “We have trained crews responding and on scene searching for any signs of the helicopter and those aboard.”
“There was a cold front that came through the area around that time, bringing scattered showers and an increase of wind gusts,” CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.
The current winds are around 14 mph with gusts up to 25 mph with light rain and Friday’s wind forecast is 14-20 mph with gusts up to 28 mph and scattered showers are in the forecast, Shackelford said.
The Coast Guard said it has launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, a cutter and other resources to search for the missing helicopter, KHNL/KGMB reported. Additional support was provided by the U.S. Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 at Kaneohe Bay.
Further searches with a search-and-rescue airplane and crew and fresh helicopter crew were scheduled for first light, if necessary.
According to the release, helicopter tours are common above the island of Kauai, much of which is a state park.
The CNN Wire contributed to this report.
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