Coast Guard suspends search for 3 missing after medical transport plane crashed off Maui

Nearly two days after a medical transport plane crashed off Maui, there are still no signs of the three crew members that were onboard.
Published: Dec. 17, 2022 at 5:50 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2022 at 7:37 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Coast Guard has suspended the active search for three crew members missing after the medical transport plane they were in crashed off crashed off Maui on Thursday night.

“Working with U.S. Coast Guard assets, the Hawaii Wing Civil Air Patrol and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, our team conducted a total of 28 searches, over the course of 67 hours, covering over 4,732 square nautical miles,” said Coast Guard District 14 Search and Rescue Program Manager Jennifer Conklin on Sunday.

“While it is not an easy decision, we have suspended the active search pending any further new information.”

The identities of the three crew members have not been released.

The Coast Guard in Honolulu reported losing radar contact with the C90 Beechcraft King Air operated by Hawaii Life Flight about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, when the plane was at an altitude of about 5,000 feet.


For communities that rely on air ambulance services, the unanswered questions are creating unease.

Lanai, for example, has limited medical facilities and uses air ambulances to transport patients to major hospitals. Dr. John Janikowski is one of only 3 practicing doctors who live on the island. He said convincing people to take the small propeller plane can be challenging.

“I’ve had patients that I’ve treated in the emergency room and we’ve recommended medivac flights,” said Dr. John Janikowski, “and theyout right refused for whatever reason they have.”

Janikowski believes the recent crash might make more patients hesitant to take a medivac flight.

“I believe there are people who are already afraid and will be more afraid,” Janikowski said. “Or the people who hadn’t even thought of these things will now think of it.”

Janikowski also said it would be “riskier” to delay medical treatment than to not get on a medivac airplane.

In the meantime, state and National Guard officials said they’re working to supplement medical flight services while Life Flight services are temporarily suspended.

To support continued air medical services in the state, Emergency Airlift said it is providing an air ambulance and flight crews to Hawaii Life Flight, which will provide the medical teams as well as serve as the call center for inter-island medical transfers.

The NTSB is also asking the public for their help in this investigation.