HONOLULU (AP) — An Illinois family of six making a Make-A-Wish trip to Maui is safe after a hard helicopter landing.
The Fraser family from Belleville, which includes four-teenage daughters, was on a Sunshine Helicopters flight just before 10 a.m. Tuesday. The pilot lifted off from Kahului (kah-hoo-LOO'-ee) Airport for a tour of Waihee (WAY'-hee) Valley.
Company owner Ross Scott says the helicopter experienced mechanical failure at 2,500 feet.
He says the pilot looked for a safe place to land and auto rotated, which means disengaging the engine from the main rotor system so the helicopter's rotor blades move just by the upward flow of air during descent.
The helicopter landed in 8 feet of elephant grass. Scott says that cushioned the landing.
Anne Marie Fraser, 17, is battling Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
Maui firefighters say no one on board required medical attention.