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Copter Recovery in Hawaii

0 63927by Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Advanced Towing & Recovery, based in Honolulu, Hawaii, was founded in 2002.
Owner Kenneth Tom and his operators specialize in major traffic incidents.

On Feb. 19, 2016, Advanced Towing & Recovery was called to recover a helicopter that had made an emergency water landing about 30' offshore of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Visitor Center. That afternoon, Advanced met with representatives from the U.S. Navy, NAVFAC, U.S. Coast Guard and the National Park Service to develop a recovery plan.

"We were instructed to wait until the following day to begin the recovery as NTSB and FAA needed to be on site during the operation," Tom said. "The following morning we had another meeting at the crash site and were given the green light to begin the recovery operation."

Advanced Towing & Recovery arrived at the crash site with their 2004 Kenworth T-800/NRC 50/65 Sliding Rotator, a 2006 Peterbilt hauling a Landoll 435 Sliding Axle trailer, and their 2000 International 4900 Incident Response Support Unit. The Advanced recovery team consisted of owner Tom, James Bloomer and Shane Fujiwara. Pacific Divers had a crew of four personnel. The Advanced crew and Pacific Divers mobilized their equipment to the scene.

"The dive team made an initial assessment of the aircraft's condition," Tom said. "They secured float bags to the helicopter, lifted it from the bottom and then pulled it over to the adjacent pier where we had the NRC 50/65 Sliding Rotator waiting."

The dive team attached Advanced's rigging, and the rotator rolled and lifted the copter from the water. A containment area was setup on the pier to capture any leaking fluids. The rotator placed the helicopter on the containment area for the NTSB and FAA to make a preliminary inspection.

After the inspection was complete, the helicopter was hoisted and loaded onto the waiting Landoll 435 trailer.

"We had set up another containment area on the trailer," Tom said. "We then secured and tarped the fuselage for transport."

Advanced transported the copter to a storage hangar at Honolulu International Airport where it was offloaded and then rinsed with fresh water on another containment area.

Tom was appreciative of all who were involved in the recovery.

"I want to thank all the representatives from the various Federal government agencies that worked together to make this happen," he said. Tom also expressed appreciation of the Navy Port Operations officers, the team from Pacific Diving and Bloomer and Fujiwara of Advanced Towing & Recovery.

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Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman
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