Coast Guard releases dramatic video of plane crash, rescue operation

Coast Guard video of plane crash, rescue operation off Maui
Published: Jan. 25, 2015 at 8:07 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2015 at 4:04 PM HST
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Courtesy: U.S. Coast Guard
Courtesy: U.S. Coast Guard
Photo shows Veendam rescue (Courtesy: Holland America Line)
Photo shows Veendam rescue (Courtesy: Holland America Line)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The pilot of a single-engine aircraft was rescued on Sunday after he was forced to crash-land his aircraft in waters northeast of the Maui coast.

Officials say the pilot, a 28-year-old man, was flying from California to the Valley Isle when he contacted the Hawaii National Guard at 12:30 p.m. to report that his aircraft was running low on fuel. At the time, the pilot reported having only about three hours worth of fuel remaining in the aircraft, leaving him approximately 230 miles from Maui.

U.S. Coast Guard officials say they helped the pilot navigate toward a cruise ship that was operating in the vicinity, then helped choreograph the rescue operation.

At approximately 4:45 p.m., video released by the U.S. Coast Guard following the incident shows a parachute deploy from the Cirrus SR22 aircraft.

The aircraft goes nose down for a few moments before leveling out, then descends for nearly four minutes before touching down in the Pacific Ocean.

Once in the water, video shows the pilot acting quickly to exit the aircraft. He can be seen deploying a life raft before the plane's wings turn vertical and the craft disappears beneath the ocean surface.

Passengers aboard the nearby Veendam Holland Cruise Line -- which was in the middle of an 18-day Hawaii cruise from San Diego, Calif. -- were asked to stay inside while the plane went down, and a Coast Guard chopper was on site to monitor the situation. A short time later, the man can be seen entering a rescue vessel that was deployed by the cruise ship.

The Holland America Line says this is the third rescue at sea in 2015 by one of its cruise ships.

The pilot is not believed to have been injured during the incident. He was scheduled to arrive in Hawaii aboard the cruise ship at approximately 10 a.m. on Monday morning.

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