The US Coast Guard is searching a Hawaiian island for a helicopter with seven people on board that has been reported missing in bad weather.

The helicopter’s owner contacted search and rescue about 45 minutes after the aircraft was due back from a flight around Kauai’s Na Pali coast on Thursday night, officials said.

The helicopter, carrying one pilot and six passengers, disappeared in strong winds and rain.

An enhanced satellite of the Hawaii islands of Kauai (r) and Niihau
Image: An enhanced satellite of the Hawaii islands of Kauai (r) and Niihau

Two of those aboard are believed to be children.

Coast Guard and US Navy helicopters have since been joined by a Coast Guard cutter.

A plane will also be launched at first light, a statement said.

Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, from the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu, said: “The weather conditions are challenging.

More from World

“We have trained crews responding and on scene searching for any signs of the helicopter and those aboard.”

According to the statement, helicopter tours are common above Kauai.

Much of the island is a state park because of its stunning scenery.