Officer Merlin D. Kaeo
Assignment: Specialized Services Division
Date of Birth: February 17, 1943
Appointment Date: August 27, 1968
End of Watch: March 16, 1977
Officer Merlin Kaeo worked as a guard at the Halawa Jail before joining the Honolulu Police Department in 1968.
On March 16, 1977, Officer Kaeo, while assigned to the Helicopter Detail, was an observer in a Hughes 300C two-man craft operated by pilot Thomas A. Moher. The aircraft touched down at the Halawa pumping station then flew into Halawa valley for a quick search. While navigating under a high tension power line on its way back, the aircraft’s rotor unit collided with the line approximately 200 feet above the valley floor.
The force of the impact snapped the power line and simultaneously severed the aircrafts rotor unit separating it from the fuselage.
Both Officer Keao and Pilot Moher were killed on impact.