Coast Guard and Navy search crews in Hawaii are poised to resume combing the rugged island of Kauai for a tour helicopter that disappeared Thursday, officials said Friday morning.

“The search continues for the seven people and any sign of the aircraft on Kauai,” said Lt. Chloe Harmon, command duty officer, Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu, in a statement emailed to Navy Times.

“We appreciate the substantial assistance of our partners to continue the search overnight and maximize search efforts in the area.”

Authorities established an incident command post on Kauai and a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules long range surveillance plane are slated to begin hunting for the missing Eurocopter AS350 at first light Friday.

At sunrise, a Coast Guard Station Kauai 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew also will search off Kauai. Coast Guard cutter William Hart began sailing from Honolulu on Thursday, officials said.

A small craft advisory is in effect for the waters around Kauai and northwest Oahu, officials added.

A Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter crew from Marine Corps Base Hawaii will launch for a search at 9 a.m. , officials added.

If approved by Pacific Air Forces, Civil Air Patrol will join in the hunt later in the morning.

On the ground, the Kauai Fire Department is spearheading efforts from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, members of the Army and Air National Guard on Kauai and commercial helicopter support.

The fire department’s Air-1 helicopter has been tasked will inland canyon searches beginning at dawn. Barking Sands Security also organized ATV searches of the shoreline.

Because most of Kauai is a state park, nearly 80 percent of the island remains uninhabited.

The missing tour helicopter reportedly carried a pilot and six passengers — two of them children — and an electronic locator, but no signals have been received by rescuers.

Local media have reported that the aircraft belongs to Lihue-based Safari Helicopters, which offers package tours of the Na Pali shoreline, Waimea Canyon, Waialeale and the Kauai Wildlife Refuge overlooking Olokele Canyon, according to its website.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told Navy Times on Friday that his agency issued an Alert Notice for the tour helicopter after it was reported overdue at Lihue early Thursday evening.

Coast Guard officials said that the Dolphin helicopter conducted three search patterns Thursday evening along a northwest slab of Kauai while the Navy’s Sea Hawk crew spent five hours hunting along the northwestern shore.

Friday’s forecast calls for continued winds around 28 mph with wind-driven waves cresting at 7 feet, a 6-feet northwest swell and scattered rain showers.

This is a breaking story and Navy Times will keep updating it.

Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

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