The US Coast Guard and airport rescue firefighters have rescued two pilots of a Boeing 737 cargo plane that crash-landed on the coast of Honolulu in Hawaii on Friday. The plane had left Daniel K. Inouye International Airport at 1:33 am and was headed to Kahului Airport on the island of Maui – a 33-minute flight when the pilots reported trouble with one of the two plane engines.
“We’ve lost number one engine and we’re coming straight to the airport,” one of the pilots reported over the radio to airport controllers when the plane tried to detour to a nearby airport. “We’re going to lose the other engine, too. It’s running very hot.”
But the Boeing 737-200 could not make it to the airport when it crash-landed on the waters. The pilots said they were losing airspeed and altitude fast since the second engine appeared to be packing up too. The plane went down a few minutes after takeoff and came down almost two nautical miles south of Kalaeloa in Oahu, according to Coast Guard officials, CNN writes.
Officials said the winds were 17 miles per hour and the sea waves were up to five feet when the pilots were rescued. The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter, a rescue plane, a cutter, and a 45-foot boat to search for and rescue the pilots after the plane went down. They were spotted by the helicopter at 2:30 am in the water with the debris of the plane nearby.
The two pilots were evacuated to Queens Medical Center where they were said to be in stable condition.
The Boeing 737-200 was said to be owned by Transair for cargo and charter services in Hawaii. It was manufactured in 1975 and has been in operation since 1982. It was issued a new airworthiness certificate in 2015 and the accreditation is supposed to expire in 2024. Transair CEO Teimour Riahi said the immediate concern of the company at the moment is the wellbeing of the pilots, and that they will continue to cooperate with relevant authorities to investigate the cause of the crash.
“Our most immediate concern is the care and recovery of our colleagues,” Riahi said. “We are working with the Coast Guard, the FAA, and NTSB to secure the scene and investigate the cause.”
Lt. Cmdr. Karin Evelyn, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard, said the Coast Guard will collaborate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the crash and evacuate the debris of the plane. The NTSB said they will be dispatching up to 10 safety experts to get to the root of the crash with a view to preventing future occurrences.