History of Hawaii Cessna accidents
The deadly plane crash off of Molokai was the second in less than two months involving the same model of aircraft in Hawaii.
Makani Kai said the pilot of the Cessna Caravan first heard a loud bang, before losing power, forcing him to ditch in the ocean.
"They said upon departure from Kalaupapa that there was a catastrophic engine failure," said Richard Schuman, the airline's CEO.
The incident has eerie similarities to a crash off of Maui when the pilot of a Mokulele Airlines Cessna heard a similar bang, before the engine cut out. He safely landed the plane on a Maui Highway.
Aviation experts said that flying a single-engine Cessna is more risky than a two-engine or larger aircraft, especially for interisland flights.
"It's always better to have a two-engine plane because if one engine goes out, the airplane is certified to fly on one engine," said Wayne Wakeman, a former pilot and flight instructor.
"It's dangerous because you're now a glider."
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there have been a total of six accidents involving Cessna Caravans in Hawaii since 1992. but the Makani Kai crash was the only deadly one.
It's also the only one involving an ocean landing, which is extremely dangerous.
When you're landing an airplane in water it's kind of like hitting concrete if you don't do it correctly. So just think of it as running your car into a concrete barrier," said aviation industry consultant Scott Hamilton.
Adding to the risk, the Cessna's landing gear doesn't retract when you land in the water.
"It's like putting a stick in the water. It creates drag. You don't have a smooth aerodynamic or hydrodynamic interaction with the water and you can flip the plane," Hamilton said.
NTSB officials are now investigating but say the plane will not likely be recovered.
Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.