Injuries fatal for copter owner's son
PORT ALLEN, Kauai » The first family of Kauai helicopters is devastated after the death of one of their own: 20-year-old Jonathan D'Attilio, who died early yesterday morning after suffering injuries in a crash Christmas Day.
Jonathan, son of Inter-Island Helicopters owner Ken D'Atti- lio, was a pilot and a mechanic at the Burns Field helicopter tour and rescue company.
According to county officials, Jonathan was helping to put out a brush fire when the Mc- Donnell Douglas 369FF he was flying crashed into the De Mello Reservoir upside-down.
He was attempting to fill a bucket with water at the time of the crash, officials said.
The pilot was pulled from the wreck by firefighters and given cardiopulmonary resuscitation by medics before being transported to Wilcox Hospital. According to his father, he died around 2 a.m. yesterday.
Ken D'Attilio said his son was a clean-cut, smart, respectful young man, and all "he wanted to do was work on helicopters and fly them."
He was an avid hunter and fisherman with "a great work ethic" who studied airplane and helicopter mechanics at Spokane Community College, his father said.
"He was a great guy, my best friend," D'Attilio said. "I'm going to miss him terribly."
It is the second loss for the family. Jonathan's mother, Ann Marie, died about a month ago.
The family-owned company has held the county contract to help firefighters in emergencies since 1987, performing hundreds of rescues and assisting in dozens of brush fires.
Inter-Island has had two other incidents while working for the county, although neither resulted in injuries.
In July, an Inter-island helicopter was severely damaged after the rotor blades hit a tree while fighting a brush fire.
In 2001, an Inter-Island flight had to make an emergency landing with three Kauai firefighters aboard after experiencing engine problems.