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UPDATE: Downed Aircraft Survivors Found Off Kona Coast

July 14, 2016, 8:58 PM HST
* Updated July 18, 11:38 AM
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UPDATE
July 15, 3:40 p.m.

Survivors of a downed small plane were rescued by the US Coast Guard off Kona today following a joint search involving the US Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, US Air Force and Coast Guard crews, a recent US Coast Guard press release revealed.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew hoisted the survivors at 11:35 a.m. about nine miles north of the Kona airport, a mile and half offshore. They were flown to the airport where they were met by awaiting emergency medical crews and treated for minor injuries.

A commercial helicopter flying along the Kona Coast sighted a debris field and reported it to the Coast Guard. One of the Dolphin crews was diverted to investigate and sighted the survivors. They vectored in a second Dolphin crew with a rescue swimmer aboard to conduct the hoist. The survivors were both wearing lifejackets and were swimming toward shore at the time.

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane crews and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Air Station Barbers Point
  • A Navy MH-60R helicopter crew from the USS Chung Hoon (DDG-93) and the crew of the ship
  • The USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349)
  • A Royal New Zealand air force P3K2 Orion airplane crew
  • The MC-130P Commando II from the 353rd SOG at Kadena
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At 3:15 p.m. watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from Honolulu control facility personnel that the pilot of a dual engine aircraft with two people aboard radioed them reporting and in air emergency. The tower confirmed they then lost contact with the pilot and the plane no longer appeared on radar.

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The plane was reportedly traveling to Kona from O‘ahu, not Maui as previously reported, with the last known position approximately 25 miles northwest of Kona. A Navy P3 Orion airplane was on approach to Kona and overheard the pilot’s call to the tower. The Orion crew initially diverted to investigate the report, but is not involved in the search.

Watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast advising mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to JRCC. They also directed the launch of assets to respond.

The Chung Hoon is homeported in Pearl Harbor. The Galveston Island is homeported in Honolulu. The Chung Hoon, Royal New Zealand air force and U.S. Air Force HC-130 are participating in RIMPAC 2016.

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UPDATE
July 15, 12:56 p.m.

The two people aboard a small aircraft that went down in waters between Maui and Kona were found alive and were hoisted to safety this morning.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa McKenzie told Maui Now that the Coast Guard is “delighted” that the two individuals were recovered.

Authorities say David McMahon and Sydnie Uemoto, a Kona native in her 20s, were found with only minor injuries and were taken in stable condition to EMS personnel at Kona International Airport where they were being treated.

Coast Guard officials told Maui Now that a tour helicopter spotted a field of debris and radioed a Coast Guard helicopter crew within the area to respond.

When the survivors were hoisted to safety, they were six miles northeast of Kona International Airport, and 1.5 miles offshore. According to the Coast Guard, the survivors were wearing life jackets when they were spotted.

UPDATE
July 15, 10:30 a.m.

A joint search for two pilots from a small plane reportedly downed off the Kona Coast continues today.

Currently searching are a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, the crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349), a Navy MH-60R helicopter off the USS Chung Hoon (DDG-93) and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3K2 Orion airplane. The Chung Hoon and Orion aircrew are in Hawai‘i participating in RIMPAC.

The search area has been extended out to 45 miles offshore. Debris was sighted by the Orion crew at 8:19 a.m. about 52 miles northwest of Kona.

The Galveston Island has been diverted to that location to investigate and determine if it is from the missing plane.

They are expected on scene at 10:30 a.m. and will attempt to relocate the debris.

Current weather is forecast as variable winds less than 10 mph to the west of Kona, but further out winds are 10 to 20 mph with seas at four to seven feet.

A small craft advisory is also in effect for the area until Saturday at 6 p.m.

Anyone with information that may help locate the two pilots is asked to contact JRCC at 808-535-3333.

Coast Guard aircraft involved in the search are from Air Station Barbers Point. The Galveston Island is homeported in Honolulu and the Chung Hoon is homeported in Pearl Harbor.

UPDATE
July 15, 5:43 a.m. 

News sources report this morning that David McMahon is one of the people on board the plane that disappeared from radar off the Kona Coast late last night.

His father, Rick, said McMahon, 26, of Kailua, and a second person, who has not been identified, are both pilots trying to get flight hours, KHON2 news reported last night at 11:58 p.m.

McMahon is a commercial pilot for Mokulele Airlines; it is unknown at this time if he was piloting the plane, which was reportedly traveling from Maui to Kona.

The Coast Guard has identified the other person as Sydnie Uemoto, 22.

At 3:15 p.m. watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordonation Center in Honolulu received notification from Honolulu control facility personnel that the pilot of a dual engine aircraft with two people aboard radioed them reporting and in air emergency.

The tower confirmed they then lost contact with the pilot in the plane no longer appeared on radar.

The plane was about 25 miles northwest of Kona when the tower lost contact with the pilot and the plane no longer appeared on the radar.

Watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast advising mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to JRCC. They also directed the launch of assets to respond.

Rick McMahon says the more people aware of the search, the better, reported KHON2 last night.

A Navy P-3 Orion airplane was on approach to Kona and overheard the pilot’s call to the tower. The Orion crew initially diverted to investigate the report, but is not involved in the search.

Currently searching are HC-130 Hercules airplane crews and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Air Station Barbers Point with a Navy MH-60R helicopter crew from the USS Chung Hoon. The USCGC Galveston Island is en route.

Information will be posted on BigIslandNow.com as it becomes available.

July 14, 8:58 p.m.

The Coast Guard and Navy are responding to report of a downed aircraft off Kona on Thursday, July 14, 2016.

Currently searching are HC-130 Hercules airplane crews and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Air Station Barbers Point with a Navy MH-60R helicopter crew from the USS Chung Hoon (DDG-93). The USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) is en route.

At 3:15 p.m. watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordonation Center in Honolulu received notification from Honolulu control facility personnel that the pilot of a dual engine aircraft with two people aboard radioed them reporting and in air emergency. The tower confirmed they then lost contact with the pilot in the plane no longer appeared on radar.

The plane was reportedly traveling to Kona from Maui, with the last known position approximately 25 miles northwest of Kona. A Navy P3 Orion airplane was on approach to Kona and overheard the pilot’s call to the tower. The Orion crew initially diverted to investigate the report, but is not involved in the search.

Watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast advising mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to JRCC. They also directed the launch of assets to respond.

On-scene conditions at the aircraft’s last known position are reportedly 12 mph winds from the northeast with waves two feet or less and an east swell of four feet. Visibility is limited with haze, isolated showers and darkness.

The Chung Hoon is homeported in Pearl Harbor. The Galveston Island is homeported in Honolulu.

Coast Guard crews safely deliver David McMahon and Sidney Uemoto to emergency medical personnel in Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016, following their rescue nine miles off Kona. They were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. They reportedly sustained only minor injures in the crash. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

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A Coast Guard rescue swimmer involved in the rescue stands with the mother of Sidney Uemoto following her daughter’s rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (US Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

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The mother of Sidney Uemoto hugs Coast Guard crews following her daughter’s rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (US Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

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Coast Guard and Hawaii Fire Department personnel stand with the mother of Sidney Uemoto following her daughter’s rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

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The mother of Sidney Uemoto checks on her daughter following her daughter’s rescue nine miles off Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016. Uemoto and David McMahon were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

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Coast Guard crews safely deliver David McMahon and Sidney Uemoto to emergency medical personnel in Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016, following their rescue nine miles off Kona. They were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. They reportedly sustained only minor injures in the crash. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

rescue stuff

Coast Guard crews safely deliver David McMahon and Sidney Uemoto to emergency medical personnel in Kona, Hawaii, July 15, 2016, following their rescue nine miles off Kona. They were both rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew following an expansive joint search by Navy, Royal New Zealand air force, U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard crews. They reportedly sustained only minor injures in the crash. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Cooper/Released)

 

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