UPDATE: Pilot Safe After Ditching Plane NE of Maui
UPDATE, Jan. 25, 7 p.m.:
The pilot of a single engine Cirrus SR-22 aircraft that ran out of fuel is safe after ditching his aircraft 253 miles northeast of Maui today. The flight originated in Tracy, California and was destined for Kahului.
At approximately 4:44 p.m. the pilot was able to deploy the aircraft’s airframe parachute system and safely exit the aircraft onto a life raft.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu identified the cruise ship Veendam, en route to Lahaina and coordinated the pilot’s ditch near the ship’s location.
At 5:21 p.m., the crew of the Veendam rescued the pilot. The pilot was reported to be in good condition. The plane was last observed partially submerged.
Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were seas of nine to 12 feet and winds of 25 to 28 mph.
The Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point assisted the pilot during the process of ditching his aircraft and maintained communications throughout the ditching process. The Hercules crew remained on scene until the pilot was safely aboard the Veendam.
The Coast Guard responded to a distress call from a single-engine aircraft running out of fuel approximately 975 miles north of Hawai‘i Island today.
The pilot contacted the Hawai‘i National Guard at 12:30 p.m., reporting that his aircraft had approximately three hours of fuel remaining and he would be ditching the plane 230 miles northeast of Maui.
The Coast Guard launched crews aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point.
As of 2:35 p.m. today, the aircraft was 529 miles northeast of Hawai‘i Island.
The Hercules was expected to rendezvous with the plane around 3:20 p.m.
The aircraft is reported as a single engine Cirrus SR-22 with one person aboard.