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Teen in last week’s Pearl Harbor helicopter crash dies

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PEARL HARBOR, HI– A 16-year-old boy injured in a Pearl Harbor helicopter crash witnessed by scores of bystanders has died.

The teenager was one of five people aboard the chopper when it crashed in front of sightseers gathered at the USS Arizona memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Thursday morning.

Four people surfaced soon after the helicopter hit the sea but the 16-year-old was found unresponsive and strapped to his seat, CNN affiliate KHON reported at the time.

He was taken to a hospital in a critical condition and Pali Momi Medical Center announced Monday that he died.

“Two family members remain in stable condition and continue to receive care at Pali Momi. Another family member was treated Thursday at an area hospital and released,” Chief Operating Officer Gidget Ruscetta said.

“So that the 16-year-old’s memory lives on, the family has chosen to donate his organs to patients in need,” she said.

Footage of crash

The crash was captured by memorial visitor Shawn Winrich.

Winrich was taking photos of the scenery when he noticed the helicopter dropping in altitude near a hundred or so people gathered at the Remembrance Circle.

Something was odd, he told KHON on Thursday, so he switched the camera to video.

“But then it started coming really low, and kinda coming straight at me,” he told the Honolulu station. “It seemed out of place and not normal.”

The video of the helicopter hitting the water and rolling over ends quickly after the crash.

Bystanders rushed to help

Winrich was just 40 feet away and felt compelled to help. “Immediately everybody just started running to help,” he said.

Hawaii resident Chris Gardner told KHON he and a Naval police officer had entered the sea and found the 16-year-old strapped into the chopper in water about 10 feet deep.

They took turns cutting the teenager’s seat belt, he said, until the officer pulled him out and up to the surface.

Witness Daniel Rose said he thought the helicopter’s pilot had been trying to avoid hitting the tourists as the craft went down.

“If he would have hit on land, there was 100 people standing right there, he would have hurt a lot of people,” he told KHON.