Bay Area Man Jumps in Water to Help Family in Hawaii Helicopter Crash

A Redwood City man on vacation in Hawaii jumped into the water to help save a family whose sight-seeing helicopter crashed in Pearl Harbor Thursday.

That man, Scott Burner, said he saw the helicopter in trouble 500 feet from the shore.

“It was sputtering around and coming closer and closer to shore,” Burner said.

Burner credits the pilot of the helicopter with trying to save the family of four on board.

“He did a pretty darn good job of landing as close to shore as he probably could. [The pilot] probably knew he was in distress."

Burner, a private pilot visiting family in Hawaii, said he tried to save the survivors.

“I jumped the wall, got through some bushes and jumped in the water,” Burner said. “I was the first guy in the water and trying to figure out who was in the water."

Burner said he helped the mother to shore. The mother was calling for her teenage son who was stuck in his seat underwater for minutes. The boy remained in critical condition at a local hospital as of Thursday night.

Two passengers are in stable condition, and the conditions of the two remaining people on board are unknown, according to NBC affiliate HNN in Hawaii.

The navy says the helicopter is owned by Genesis Aviation offering aerial tours of the Arizona Memorial since 1999.

The NTSB is investigating the crash.

Burner says his trip to Pearl Harbor Thursday inspired him to help the family.

“I guess in some ironic way became a hero myself today. Not that it even compares to what these military personnel have done for us.” Burner said. “But it definitely was rewarding to give back a little bit today and help a couple people."

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