Small plane crashes off Makaha; no serious injuries reported

Published: May. 23, 2016 at 3:27 PM HST|Updated: May. 24, 2016 at 1:58 AM HST
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MAKAHA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two people suffered minor injuries when the plane they were in crashed about 40 yards off Makaha Beach Park on Monday.

Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright said lifeguards in a tower saw the wreckage and swam out to save the 56-year-old male pilot and his 52-year-old female passenger.

"Me and my partner were sitting in the tower and at the corner of our eye we noticed something out of the ordinary...a plane sticking halfway out of the water," lifeguard Blake Caporoz said.

Enright said a the man and woman were hanging on to the plane's wings as it was sinking.

"The two people were able to get out of the aircraft safely on their own. Ocean safety came and they held them above water until a Good Samaritan bystander on a jet ski came," Enright said.

The crash is the second of an aircraft in the islands Monday. On Kauai, five people were killed when a Skydive Kauai plane crashed near Port Allen Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane that went down in Makaha was a single-engine Beechcraft Sundowner. It apparently experienced engine trouble while inbound to Honolulu International Airport, the FAA said.

"Hawaii Nautical" crew members were out with customers snorkeling with turtles when the plane crashed about 200 yards from them.

"Just like a movie, like a toy just get into the water. Wow! What happened just now?!" crew member Yudai Oyama said.

"One of the customers said that a plane was crashing. So I looked over, the plane had already hit the water, stopped in the water and just all of a sudden, started sinking really slowly," Captain of the crew Anthony Leon said.

"I heard Yudai yelling at me, come on the boat, come on the boat! So I thought it was like a shark or something. So I just looked to the side and I saw the tail end of the airplane and they told me, 'Hurry up! Bring all the people on!' So I was trying to be calm about it, brought them on the boat and started to go out there, and sure enough, was an airplane in the water," said crew member Rodney Banis.

Paramedics treated the man and woman and took them to Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. Enright said they were treated for bruises and abrasions to their chests, likely from their seat belts.

Enright said Ocean Safety personnel are monitoring any debris from the aircraft, as well as oil and fuel leaks. It's unclear when salvage operations will begin. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

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