VIDEO: Kalaupapa Plane Crash, Coast Guard Response
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6RZqrNxvwU /] By Wendy Osher
The US Coast Guard released video today of their response efforts at the scene of a small plane crash off of Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi on Wednesday.
A total of nine people were aboard the Makani Kai Air commuter craft when it crashed into the ocean shortly after departure.
Eight people survived and one individual, later identified as State Health Director Loretta Fuddy, was killed in the crash.
According to the Coast Guard, watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center received the report of the plane crash at 3:27 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11.
The agency responded by launching two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters and one HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point on Oʻahu; Cutters Ahi and Galveston Island, home-ported in Honolulu; and two 45-foot Response-Boat Medium crews from Station Maui.
According to information released by the Coast Guard, rescue swimmers from the Dolphin helicopters were deployed, rescuing three passengers in the water; while crews from the Maui Fire Department rescued additional passengers.
The Coast Guard transported three passengers to Emergency Medical Services via Dolphin helicopter to Honolulu for emergency medical treatment.
Two other passengers declined treatment, staying in Kalaupapa; and three went to Molokaʻi General hospital, according to Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators say the aircraft is “probably not recoverable.” NTSB Public Affairs Officer Eric Weiss said, “The investigation is in the fact-gathering stage with a preliminary report to be issued within two weeks.”
Federal Aviation Administration Pacific Region spokesperson Ian Gregor said the agency plans to speak with the pilot and some of the passengers today.
The family of the late Loretta Fuddy will make a brief statement during a press conference this afternoon from the Department of Health’s Kinau Hale Building. Governor Neil Abercrombie will join family members at the event.