Pilot rescued after ditching plane off Big Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pilot rescued after ditching plane off Big Island

Source: Paul Miyasaki Source: Paul Miyasaki
Source: Paul Miyasaki Source: Paul Miyasaki

HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Coast Guard crews rescued a pilot who ditched his plane about 13 miles off the Big Island because he ran out of fuel. Brian Mellor, 65, was flying a Cessna 310 twin-engine aircraft from Monterey, California to Hilo. He sent out a distress signal around 12:30 p.m. on Friday when he realized he was running low on fuel for the 2,200 mile journey.

"We just did a training mission yesterday. It was the exact same scenario. It was really funny. It was like, hey, you got a plane that's running out of gas before it's gonna make it to the airfield. So I was like alright, we're ready for this. We can do this," said Lt. Eric Majeska of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The crew on the C-130 Hercules intercepted the Cessna off the northeast coast of the Big Island and followed the plane for about 90 minutes. They helped Mellor prepare for the water landing before he ditched his plane

"He did it picture perfect. It was a textbook landing if there is such a thing in the water for an airplane like that," said navigator Ryan Rejzer. "He came in wings level and just brought it in as slow as he could and touched down."

"From our perspective, we were able to see him come out of the airplane moving so we were like overjoyed. He's good. The airplane was intact when it landed," said Petty Officer 2nd Class John Martinez.

Mellor escaped through a window and stood on a wing waiting for a rescue swimmer to reach him. He was loaded into a basket and lifted into a helicopter in just a few minutes. He was taken to the Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

"Either it was miscalculation with fuel or maybe unforecasted winds, headwinds to slow him down and eventually he didn't make it," said Rejzer.

The plane sank in about 15 minutes.

"It was remarkable how calm he seemed. He was very professional throughout the whole scenario, but I know I probably would have been a little more freaked out," Rejzer said.

Mellor has already been released from the hospital. The Coast Guard crew that saved him said they invited him to come over and share some drinks with them once he recovered.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • High Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

    High Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

    Thursday, June 21 2018 10:32 AM EDT2018-06-21 14:32:03 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 10:25 AM EDT2018-06-23 14:25:15 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jessica Gresko, File). FILE - This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington.  The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were lo...(AP Photo/Jessica Gresko, File). FILE - This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax. The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were lo...

    The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

    More >>

    The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

    More >>
  • In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    In reversal, Trump orders halt to his family separation rule

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:21 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:21:21 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-06-23 13:33:31 GMT
    A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)A boy stares out of a heavily tinted bus window leaving a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Tuesday in McAllen, TX. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

    More >>

    Trump signs executive order to keep families together at border, says 'zero-tolerance' prosecution policy will continue.

    More >>
  • First lady visits migrant children housed in Texas

    First lady visits migrant children housed in Texas

    Thursday, June 21 2018 12:42 PM EDT2018-06-21 16:42:26 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 8:37 AM EDT2018-06-23 12:37:04 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik). First lady Melania Trump arrives at McAllen Miller International Airport in McAllen, Texas, Thursday, June 21, 2018, to visit the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center and the Upbring New Hope Children Center run by the Luthe...(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik). First lady Melania Trump arrives at McAllen Miller International Airport in McAllen, Texas, Thursday, June 21, 2018, to visit the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center and the Upbring New Hope Children Center run by the Luthe...
    Melania Trump is visiting a Texas facility housing some of the more 2,300 migrant children sent there by the U.S. government after their families entered the country illegally.More >>
    Melania Trump is visiting a Texas facility housing some of the more 2,300 migrant children sent there by the U.S. government after their families entered the country illegally.More >>
Powered by Frankly