NTSB to salvage Makani Kai plane

NTSB to salvage Makani Kai plane

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "It's been a daily effort on a lot of people's part to try get to this aircraft," Makani Kai Air owner Richard Schuman said.

He said the most recent sighting of the single engine Cessna that went down off Molokai last week determined the aircraft appears to be in one piece.

"The salvage people will make a determination how to bring this up the best way. We want to try to keep it intact as much as possible. They want to recover everything they can find on the bottom that may belong to the aircraft," Schuman said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is heading up the recovery. The Cessna Grand Caravan is in waters 50 to 75 feet deep and up to 400 yards off the western edge of the Kalaupapa peninsula.

Christopher Kelley of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory said the terrain is flatter than the eastern side which is rockier with steep slopes that drop dramatically.

"I would think that if the plane is sitting on a fairly flat bottom that it would be easier to secure it with the lines and equipment necessary to bring it up.

The pilot of the plane told Schuman that the engine suddenly stopped working. The NTSB will examine the engine before it's sealed in a crate and sent to the manufacturer for further inspection.

"The best the NTSB can get is from the passengers information and from the pilot, and after we recover the aircraft the assessment of what they find," he said.

Coastal engineering and marine construction firm Sea Engineering will do the salvage job with a 200-foot-long recovery vessel. Plans are to bring the aircraft up tomorrow and have it back on Oahu on Thursday.

"They're very experienced and also very competent," Kelley said.

The main work to determine what happened to the engine will be done at the airplane's manufacturer in Canada.

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