Possible hydraulic fault forces Hawaiian flight to make emergency landing at Kona airport

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A Hawaiian Airlines flight inbound from Maui with 108 passengers onboard made an emergency landing at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport Monday evening due to a possible hydraulic fault.

Irey-babes Kaawaloa captured images of responders to the Hawaiian Airlines flight at KOA on Monday night. (Photo credit: Irey-babes Kaawaloa)

Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson Alex DeSilva said the captain declared an emergency to obtain priority handling at Kona due to a possible hydraulic fault. The flight landed safely in Kona and there were no injuries.

Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation spokesperson Jai Cunningham said the incident at the Kona airport occurred at approximately 8:24 p.m. The plane landed on Runway 17, which closed for a while following the incident. HDOT’s Aircraft Rescue Firefighters responded.

Big Island resident Irey-babes Kaawaloa said she had two family members on the Hawaiian Airlines flight.

“They’re pretty traumatized but they landed safely,” she wrote on social media.

Kaawaloa said her family texted her at approximately 8:13 p.m. to let her know they landed but their plane had broke and was stuck on the runway.


“I was there and watched the plane land, it didn’t sound or look good at all,” Kaawaloa said. “Usually when the planes land they eventually move towards the gates but it didn’t, it stayed at the end of the runway and that’s when I got the text that they had landed but something was wrong.”

Kaawaloa said it was scary.

Janelle Milewski Gomes captured video footage of the airplane on the runway. She was at the airport to pick up her farm manager for Honalo Farms who had been on O‘ahu after a hospital stay.

Gomes said her manager’s flight was delayed several hours due to the weather. His flight from Honolulu was supposed to arrive at 3:20 p.m. but he didn’t get in till 10 p.m.


“He was on one of the planes that had to circle for 30 minutes or so,” she said.

When she arrived at the airport, Gomes saw the Hawaiian plane and could tell something wasn’t right with the aircraft the way it landed and didn’t taxi back.

The emergency landing in Kona comes a day after 36 people were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix, Ariz. to Honolulu after it experienced severe turbulence 30 minutes before landing.

Monday’s storm also caused the airport to shut down due to lightning strikes for about an hour, Cunningham said.

“The storm kind of wreaked havoc,” he said. “Hopefully it’s over.”


DeSilva said the weather system impacting the islands continues to cause significant disruption and Hawaiian has canceled nine interisland and five transpacific flights as of late Monday afternoon. He had no information about grounded flights at Kona or Hilo.

On Monday, Hawaiian Airlines was operating about 235 flights, both interisland and transpacific.

DeSilva said the airline is unable to comment further on the emergency-landing incident. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

“We are continuing to support everyone affected by yesterday’s event – employees with our Hawaiian Airlines Emergency Assistance Response Team (HEART) went to hospitals, and we are in contact with families,” he said.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a full-time reporter for Pacific Media Group. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.

Tiffany can be reached at [email protected].
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