HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The owner of the single-engine plane that crashed into the waters near Lanai Saturday said that the two men on board were flying in windy conditions and executed “a proper water landing.”
The two men involved in the crash had prior experience flying aircrafts. One was an instructor and the other was a pilot working on advancing his credentials.
They had taken off in a DA40 Diamond Star aircraft Saturday afternoon for a training exercise.
The crash occurred when the aircraft ran into engine problems.
Officials said that both men are expected to recover from the injuries they sustained from the forced ocean landing.
George Hanazawa, president of George’s Aviation Services, said, “They ended up executing emergency procedures and did a proper water landing. They landed the aircraft correctly in the water, deploying safety devices and wearing their vests.”
Hanzawa said he knows that the plane ran into engine problems several hours into the flight.
George’s Aviation provides pilot training and allows customers to rent airplanes. Hanzawa said the company operates about 1,000 landings a month.
Hanzawa said he briefly spoke to the instructor after the two men were transported to Oahu for treatment.
“He said ‘Hey George I’m okay and I’ll be alright.’ So I’m very, very relieved to see him with my own eyes,” he said.
Hanzawa said he is thankful that a passenger airline, Mokulele Airlines, and a freight carrier, Kamaka Air, were nearby and kept watch over the downed pilots before the Coast Guard rescue helicopter could arrive.
“Mokulele was one of first on scene and circled over them for a long time, just to keep a visual. Shortly after, the aircraft sunk,” he said.
Hanzawa said he also flew out to see if he could help, but by then the rescue efforts were already under way.
“The Coast Guard had it under control. They did a fabulous job. The helicopter arrived just as it became dark.”
Federal authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident.