Small aircraft lands in water off Dillingham Airfield

Small aircraft lands in water off Dillingham Airfield

WAIALUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was a scary sight for beachgoers on Oahu's north shore Wednesday as they watched a pilot make an emergency landing in the ocean.

He landed it in a few feet of water right offshore near Dillingham Airfield shortly before 11:30 a.m.

Arhelger was barbecuing with some friends at Mokuleia when he said he saw the plane hover dangerously close over some kids lying on the sand.

"I'm yelling at the kids already, 'Eh guys! Check it out!' Get um off the beach you know. Don't know if the guy's gonna land on the beach or land on the water, and he picked the water, and as soon as he hit the water, he just stopped," Arhelger said.

The pilot said he ran out of gas near Dillingham Airfield. He says there were too many people on shore, so he made the spit-second decision to land the aircraft in the water.

Honolulu Fire Department Battalion Chief Howard Naone said they were preparing for the worst when they arrived on scene.

“Not something you see every day. It's an experience for us because we don't train for that much. But we just take everything a little bit at a time and we were quite successful," Naone said.

The plane is pretty banged up, but the pilot walked away without any injuries and no one on the ground was hurt.

The plane's owner says she was trying to sell for the plane for $75,000 and is upset that her aircraft won't be flying again but knows Wednesday morning's events could have turned out much worse.

"The most important thing that went out of my mind was, ‘Is he ok?' Because a life, you cannot replace it with anything. A life is precious. An airplane can be replaced but not a human being," said Suzy Gromacki.

The plane was hooked up and towed off to be given to the National Transportation Safety Board and The Federal Aviation Administration for a formal investigation.

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