Coast Guard suspends search for missing plane

Coast Guard discovers debris field that may match missing plane

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Coast Guard has suspended their search for a missing pilot.

The Coast Guard found a field of debris that appears to be from an aircraft in the ocean approximately two miles north of Maui, including a wheel that could match a privately owned Cessna airplane that disappeared from radar while traveling from Maui to Molokai Saturday night.

"The nature of the debris that we have encountered, some of it, which looks like it would have come from the interior of the aircraft, it seems unlikely this was a survivable crash but we are continuing to search," said Lt. Leigh Cotterell of the U.S. Coast Guard. "We found a landing gear, life jackets, aircraft antenna."

Coast Guard officials identified the pilot of that Cessna 172S airplane on Sunday as Jose Krall, a Maui resident believed to be in his fifties. Krall was piloting the Cessna aircraft when it possibly crash landed approximately 2.5 miles north east of Kahului Airport, most likely in the ocean, at around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Krall and his wife Claire own the Maui Bake Shop and Deli in Wailuku. Claire Krall told Hawaii News Now that Jose was on his way to Molokai and Lanai to meet with farmers on work-related business. She says that flying was his stress relief from work, and that he wrote a note to her saying that he was going to fly for a bit and that he loved her.

"He was a wonderful guy, very meticulous. Friendly, very professional. He loved his job, well trained, a very good pastry chef," said Krall's friend, chef Gerard Reversade.

Coast Guard officials are continuing to search for aircraft, and a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and HC-130 Hercules airplane have been launched to assist in the search of the area. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi has also deployed to assist.

A Coast Guard cutter from Oahu also arrived in Maui waters to search for the missing pilot at around 3 a.m. on Monday.

The U.S. Coast Guard says a debris field that appears to be from an aircraft has been located in the area, but confirmation that it is the missing plane cannot be made at this time. Included in the debris is a landing gear wheel that could match the aircraft.

Crews from the Maui Fire Department and Maui Police Department conducted land searches of the area.

The Cessna 172S is a four-seat, single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft. Krall is believed to have been the sole occupant of the aircraft when it crashed.

According to drift models, debris could wash ashore between Kahului and Poelua Bay. If you find any, the Coast Guard is asking you to call them at 842-2601.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.