Maui News

New Images of Downed Cargo Plane Bound for Maui, That Ditched in O‘ahu Waters July 2

By Wendy Osher
July 13, 2021, 9:44 AM HST
* Updated July 13, 9:55 AM
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The forward fuselage of Transair flight 810 is seen as it rests on the ocean floor about 2 miles from Ewa Beach. PC: courtesy of Sea Engineering, Inc. via NTSB (7.8.21)

The National Transportation Safety Board has released images of a cargo plane that ditched in waters off of Oahʻu earlier this month shortly after takeoff from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport while en route to Kahului, Maui.

Rhoades Aviation Inc., dba Transair, flight 810 went down at around 1:30 a.m. HST on July 2, 2021 in waters of Māmala Bay about 2 miles from Ewa Beach. Both members of the two-person flight crew were injured and were rescued by the US Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department.

The Boeing 737-200 airplane was substantially damaged and sank. A team of NTSB investigators obtained imagery of the forward and aft fuselage, and engine inlet case on the ocean floor. Investigators say the major components of the airplane (the aft fuselage – including both wings and tail – both engines, and forward fuselage) were located on the sea floor at depths between 360 and 420 feet. 

The NTSB reports that a small amount of floating debris was recovered and taken to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, where it was examined by investigators. 

Investigators had planned to use side scan sonar to survey the debris field, the condition of the airplane and its location, including how far beneath the surface the plane sank. The investigation found that the depth of wreckage is too deep to deploy divers for recovery of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

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To date the NTSB operations and human performance investigators have completed more than 12 interviews: including the flight crew, other Transair personnel, and FAA personnel.

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Shortly after the crash, a spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration told Maui Now that the pilots made the emergency landing in the ocean after reporting engine trouble. 

An engine inlet case from Transair flight 810 is seen as it rests on the ocean floor about 2 miles from Ewa Beach. PC: courtesy of Sea Engineering, Inc. via NTSB (7.8.21)

Other highlights of the investigation include the following:

  • The maintenance records for the airplane have been documented and reviewed by the NTSB’s airplane systems, powerplants, and maintenance records groups. 
  • Investigators examined a sister ship to become familiar with the configuration.
  • A fuel sample (from another airplane that was fueled on the same night) was tested. And NO irregularities were found.
  • NTSB investigators directed the Side Scan Sonar and Remotely Operated Vehicle operations to locate the airplane wreckage. Sea Engineering, Inc. used their 43-ft Workboat, ‘Huki Pono’ for ROV operations in combination with Chinook ROV, outfitted with a secondary GoPro – high-definition video recording system, ultra-short-base wavelength transponder and Hypack Navigation and DGPS to monitor and record the ROV position on the seafloor. 
  • Powerplants, systems, structures, maintenance records, air traffic control, and operations/human performance groups have completed on scene work.
  • The team will return to Oʻahu to recover the plane.
Aft fuselage of Transair flight 810 is seen as it rests on the ocean floor about 2 miles from Ewa Beach. PC: courtesy of Sea Engineering, Inc. via NTSB (7.7.21)
Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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