state 5/11


Mechanic: Cable snap caused Honolulu crash landing

HONOLULU — A snapped cable caused a helicopter’s crash-landing on a downtown Honolulu street, the mechanic who owns the company that inspected the helicopter said.

Pilot Julia Link was forced to land the helicopter on a street Wednesday afternoon when the engine failed. Brant Swigart, owner of Hawaii Air Power Labs, Inc., told Hawaii News Now he blames himself for that.

“This cable failed because of negligence,” he said, “and it was my negligence that caused it.” His company has had the contract to work on Mauna Loa Helicopters for the past 10 years. Mauna Loa Helicopters president Benjamin Fouts couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

No one was badly hurt. The passenger, a photographer taking aerial shots, had a minor cut on his head.

“When I didn’t know that everybody was OK — that was the worst moment of my life,” he said. “I’m trying to atone for that in some way.”

While Swigart wasn’t the last mechanic who worked on the Robinson R22 Beta, he said as owner of the company it’s his responsibility to check everything. In addition to the snapped cable, a back-up switch also failed, he said.

“I didn’t’ physically inspect that assembly,” he said. “And if I had I would have caught it. It would have been rectified. And had it been rectified, this wouldn’t have happened.”

It was not known if he has spoken with the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating.

He apologized to the pilot, the passenger and the owner of the car parked on Fort Street that was badly damaged when the helicopter skidded down the street.

Hundreds line up to honor airman

HONOLULU — Hundreds of people lined up to honor an airman who was killed last month when his aircraft crashed in Afghanistan.

Hawaii News Now reports that a C-17 carrying Air Force Capt. Reid Nishizuka’s casket arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Thursday. Military officials had put out the word for servicemen and women to be present for his return, and they showed up by the hundreds.

Nishizuka, who was from Kailua, was the pilot of the Air Force MC-12 Liberty aircraft that crashed April 27 near Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, killing him and three other airmen.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 6 p.m. at Central Union Church. Burial is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

Man dies in Maui accident

WAILUKU, Maui — A 66-year-old man has died in an accident on Maui.

The Maui News reports that Robert Keith Adams of Haliimaile was killed Thursday morning when his SUV crossed the centerline in a passing zone on the Honoapiilani Highway as he was headed toward Lahaina. The SUV collided with another car before hitting a tree in Ukumehame.

Police say the two occupants of the car were taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center with injuries.

Occupants of a third car involved in the accident were not injured.

The highway was closed for about three hours while police investigated.

Guam sex trafficking case delayed amid appeals

HAGATNA, Guam — A sex trafficking trial in Guam has been delayed after consecutive appeals to the territory’s Supreme Court by a convicted lounge owner and a police officer also accused in the case.

A lawyer for police officer David Manila filed an appeal arguing he should be released while he waits to be tried along with fellow officer Anthony Quenga on rape and other crimes, The Pacific Daily News reported Friday (http://bit.ly/17ar6JV ).

Manila is being held on $250,000 bail. Judge Anita Sukola declined to reduce it in November, saying she was concerned about the victims in the case.

The appeal came just before territorial justices rejected an appeal from lounge owner Song Ja Cha, who argued she was being tried twice for the same crime for running the brothel.

Cha was sentenced by a federal judge to life in prison in September in the scheme.

The brothel was run out of six rooms in a bar called the Blue House Lounge, which was open from 2004 to 2008. Authorities said Micronesian women and a 16-year-old girl were forced into prostitution.

The case can’t move forward until Manila’s appeal is resolved, Sukola said.

Terence Timblin, a lawyer for Manila, argued that there are questions about the seriousness of the crimes and whether he should be held simply based on the prosecuting attorney’s charges.

“The government, having thrown in the kitchen sink, should not be permitted to bootstrap its charging decision into an argument that this makes a defendant dangerous,” Timblin said in a brief.

The rape allegations “occurred in the context of a prostitution operation and there is a substantial issue of consent,” Timblin said.