Coast Guard Searching for Missing Plane Near Lihue

LIHUE (KHNL) -- U.S. Coast Guard are searching for the pilot of a twin-engine Beechcraft 1900 which crashed at sea about seven miles south of Lihue Monday morning.

The FAA says the male pilot was the only person aboard the Beechcraft, which was last seen on radar at 5:08 a.m. Monday.

The pilot was carrying cargo on a regularly scheduled flight.

The Beechcraft left Honolulu International Airport at 4:30 a.m. Monday morning, and was to have landed in Lihue at 5:15 a.m.

Crew members from Coast Guard Station Kauai spotted debris in the water seven miles south of the airport at 8:50 a.m.

"We've launched as many assets as quickly as we can," said Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Conroy, a search and rescue controller with the Coast Guard's Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. "We have narrowed down the search area to a compact debris field and will work as quickly as possible."

Coast Guard crews say the weather is challenging, with wind from the northeast at greater than 25 knots and 15-foot seas in the Kauai Channel.