Investigation begins in plane's emergency water landing near Lanai

Rosemarie Bernardo, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
·2 min read

Mar. 2—The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a single-engine, Diamond DA40 plane that made an emergency landing on the water off Lanai on Saturday after it experienced engine failure.

The aircraft crashed into the water approximately 3 miles west of Lanai at about 5 :50 p.m., according to the FAA.

The Coast Guard responded to a report of an aircraft experiencing engine trouble and was likely going to ditch the plane in the water.

The plane, with the tail number N680DS, is registered to George's Aviation Services Inc. The Diamond DA40 is typically a four-seat aircraft.

When the engine stopped, an instructor pilot and student pilot aboard the aircraft glided toward Lanai, according to company owner George Hanzawa. "They were getting closer to Lanai, but they came up short."

The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine information broadcast notice and deployed an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and 45-foot response boat to search for the aircraft and the pilots.

A crew aboard the helicopter spotted them wearing life vests in rough ocean conditions and hoisted the two men to safety.

They were taken to a hospital where they were treated and released. Hanzawa said one of the men sustained minor abrasions and that the other did not sustain any injuries.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew West said the aircraft sank in the ocean.

Hanzawa said he is happy the pilots are safe and that they used their knowledge and skills to execute a water landing correctly. They also followed company procedures by taking safety equipment with them. "That was also key to their survival, " he added.

It was not immediately known what caused the engine failure.

"We're working with the FAA today, " Hanzawa said Monday during an interview. He said the company had no problems with the aircraft in the past.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said a preliminary report is expected to be released in about two weeks.