Coast Guard leads search for 2 missing aboard downed aircraft off Kauai

C-130 Taking off from Barbers Point

USCG File Photo

HONOLULU – Coast Guard rescue crews, members of Kauai County Fire Department, Ocean Safety and Good Samaritans continue to search with surface and air assets for two missing people, last seen aboard an ultralight aircraft entering the water 100 yards off Mc Bride Point near Point Allen, Kauai, Tuesday.

A kayaker in the vicinity of Point Allen reported to emergency dispatch that he saw an aircraft crash into the water at about 11 a.m.

Coast Guard Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders contacted the Big Sky company and confirmed that Jim Gather, the pilot, and a 49-year-old female tourist were overdue 45 minutes from their overflight.

Aircrews aboard an HC-130 Hercules search plane and HH-65 Dolphin helicopter, from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, launched from Oahu and arrived on scene at noon. A 31-foot response boat was also launched from Station Kauai and arrived on scene within 30 minutes of the distress call.

Members of Kauai County Fire Department launched two rescue water craft, one search boat, two divers and a helicopter. Ocean Safety also deployed rescue craft to assist the search.

The Coast Guard is concentrating search efforts in the area around the plane’s last reported position. The pilot and passenger were reported to be wearing personal flotation devices and carrying a transponder. The Coast Guard intends to search until midnight and then, resume at first light. No sign of the missing pilot or passenger have been reported.

“We are in close coordination with local, state and federal rescuers,” said Lt. Blair Sweigart, response command duty officer.

The Coast Guard urges anyone with information to call Sector Honolulu at 808-842-2600.

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