Captured on tape: Plane ditches in ocean off Hawaii, pilot rescu - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Captured on tape: Plane ditches in ocean off Hawaii, pilot rescued

Posted: Updated:

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A small plane ran out of fuel and was ditched in the ocean several miles off Hawaii's coast, but the pilot was rescued by Coast Guard crews who had flown alongside and coached him on crash landing in the choppy seas.

Dramatic video released by the Coast Guard shows the plane gliding low over the water and then splashing down. Within seconds the pilot climbs out onto a wing as a helicopter lowers a rescue swimmer, who helps him enter a basket and is hoisted to the hovering aircraft.

The 65-year-old man, who was not seriously injured, was flying solo from Monterey, Calif., when he radioed authorities Friday afternoon that he was running low on fuel about 500 miles from his destination of Hilo, Hawaii, the Coast Guard said. The cities are about 2,300 miles apart.

The Guard sent a plane to rendezvous with the two-engine Cessna and dispatched a ship and helicopter to be ready for a possible rescue, spokesman Lt. Gene Maestas told The Associated Press.

After meeting up with the plane over the Pacific, the Guard's HC-130 Hercules flew alongside for more than an hour, until the aircraft's fuel gave out and it went down 13 miles off Hawaii.

"We were communicating to him the entire time," Maestas told The Associated Press. "The pilots were telling him how to make the airplane ready ... to lighten, tie things down, adjust the seat."

He was also urged to go in at a low angle to the water and touch down parallel to the waves — running at strong six feet — rather than absorbing their power by plowing into them head-first.

"We basically talked him down," Maestas said.

The pilot, whom the Coast Guard did not identify, ditched his airplane about an hour before sundown.

In the two-minute video apparently shot from another Coast Guard aircraft, the plane skims lightly on the water for a few seconds before coming to an abrupt stop and spinning around in the foaming seas.

It floats upright with the pilot clinging to it but appears to begin sinking within a minute, as the Guard swimmer is lowered to waters near the plane.

"He was able to crawl out of cockpit and speak to the rescue swimmer; he didn't appear to have any significant injuries," Maestas said.

The video shows the swimmer hanging onto the basket carrying the man as it moves upward, before dropping several feet back into the waters. It ends with the helicopter carrying the pilot flying off. Maestas said the Cessna sank in just a few minutes.

"We feel very fortunate that we were able to save this man's life," he said.

The man was taken to a hospital but there was no further word on his condition.

 

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • San Diego dance gamer goes viral

    San Diego dance gamer goes viral

    Saturday, October 20 2018 2:28 AM EDT2018-10-20 06:28:11 GMT

    He is quick. He is focused. Now, video of his fancy footwork has gone viral.

     

    He is quick. He is focused. Now, video of his fancy footwork has gone viral.

     
  • Lion on loan from San Diego Zoo killed at Indianapolis Zoo

    Lion on loan from San Diego Zoo killed at Indianapolis Zoo

    Saturday, October 20 2018 1:41 AM EDT2018-10-20 05:41:57 GMT

    A 10-year-old male lion on loan from the San Diego Zoo was killed at the Indianapolis Zoo by a female lion, zoo officials announced Friday.

     

    A 10-year-old male lion on loan from the San Diego Zoo was killed at the Indianapolis Zoo by a female lion, zoo officials announced Friday.

     
  • Woman, 65, seriously injured in scooter mishap

    Woman, 65, seriously injured in scooter mishap

    Saturday, October 20 2018 1:21 AM EDT2018-10-20 05:21:41 GMT

    A 65-year-old woman was seriously injured Friday when she fell while riding an electric scooter with family members in the Marina area of San Diego.

     

    A 65-year-old woman was seriously injured Friday when she fell while riding an electric scooter with family members in the Marina area of San Diego.

     
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.