HONOLULU — The Coast Guard and Navy are responded to report of a downed aircraft off Kona, Hawaii, Thursday.
Currently searching are HC-130 Hercules airplane crews and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point with a Navy MH-60R helicopter crew from the USS Chung Hoon (DDG-93). The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB-1349) is en route.
At 3:15 p.m. watchstanders at Joint Rescue Coordonation Center Honolulu received notification from Honolulu control facility personnel that the pilot of a dual engine aircraft with two people aboard radioed them reporting an in air emergency. The tower confirmed they then lost contact with the pilot and the plane no longer appeared on radar.
The plane was reportedly traveling to Kona from Maui, with the last known position approximately 25 miles northwest of Kona. A Navy P3 Orion airplane was on approach to Kona and overheard the pilot’s call to the tower. The Orion crew initially diverted to investigate the report, but is not involved in the search.
Watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast advising mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to JRCC. They also directed the launch of assets to respond.
On scene conditions at the aircraft’s last known position are reportedly 12 mph winds from the northeast with waves 2 feet or less and an east swell of 4 feet. Visibility is limited with haze, isolated showers and darkness.
The Chung Hoon is homeported in Pearl Harbor. The Galveston Island is homeported in Honolulu.