PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A Bell 206B helicopter went out of control, spiraled down and crashed near Pearl Harbor Thursday, and a tourist caught it all on camera.
Just yards away, Jacksonville, Florida, native Chris Gardner was taking Orlando, Florida, lawyer John Morgan on a tour. Morgan told us, Gardner immediately ran to help.
"He just took off his shirt and dove into the water with a knife and (was) just cutting people out of their seat belts," Morgan said.
Gardner has a background as a champion surfer, lifeguard and diver, and he's worked with helicopters. He, along with another man, freed a 16-year-old boy, trapped and hanging by a seat belt.
"I regret that we didn't get him out faster. It seemed like a long time to me," Gardner said.
There were five people on board, video taken just moments after shows them being taken out on stretchers. Honolulu Emergency Services says the 16-year-old was underwater for three minutes and is in critical condition.
Our News 6 helicopter is similar to the one that crashed. Twenty-five-year veteran pilot Bob Lancaster says you have just seconds to react in emergency situations.
"Something very catastrophic must have happened where he just couldn't extend the glide, he was too low, not enough air speed," Lancaster said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to investigate the crash.