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Nov 11, 2011 7:24 AM by Kate Richards

5 dead after copter crash in Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) - Federal officials are investigating the fiery crash of a helicopter that slammed into a mountain ridge on Hawaii's Molokai island, killing the pilot and four tourists aboard.

Authorities say the aircraft carrying the five people was on a tourist excursion of West Maui and Molokai when it went down near an elementary school Thursday.

Maui County spokesman Rod Antone says firefighters recovered four bodies and the fifth was located under the wreckage.

Kilohana Elementary School Principal Richard Stevens says the crash occurred about a quarter mile from the school, prompting teachers to keep the 71 students inside.

Antone told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the passengers were from Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. Maui County didn't immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking confirmation.

The newspaper said at least two of the passengers were newlyweds.

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