Helicopter drops airplane during salvage operation

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration says it's looking into the circumstances of why a small aircraft being salvaged off a Maui beach was dropped into the ocean.

Spokesman Ian Gregor says by email Thursday that a helicopter operated by Pacific Helicopters on Tuesday night was recovering a Piper Cherokee but ran into a problem.

The helicopter dropped the airplane into the ocean about a mile off shore.

Gregor says the FAA is looking into the circumstances behind the decision.

He says it's up to the owner of the Piper Cherokee, the owner's insurance company and possibly the Coast Guard to decide what to do with the aircraft.

The Maui News reports the Piper Cherokee on Sunday had made an emergency landing in brush near the shoreline in Waiehu.

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