Coast Guard Searching for Downed Aviator South of Kauai

HONOLULU — U.S. Coast Guard air and surface crews are searching this morning for the pilot of a twin-engine Beechcraft 1900 which crashed at sea approximately seven miles south of Lihue, Kauai.

The male pilot was the only person aboard the Beechcraft, which was last seen on radar at 5:08 a.m. Monday, in a position seven miles south of Lihue International Airport, Kauai. The pilot was carrying cargo on a regularly scheduled flight.

The Beechcraft left Honolulu International Airport at 4:30 a.m. Monday morning, and was to have landed in Lihue less than an hour later. Crew members aboard a 25-foot SAFE boat from Coast Guard Station Kauai spotted debris in the water in a position seven miles south of the airport at 8:50 a.m.

Crew members aboard a Coast Guard C-130 confirmed the sighting of debris two minutes later. Currently, two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters and the C-130 from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point are on scene. Also, the 87-foot patrol boat Kittiwake was launched from Nawiliwili to assist the crew of the 25-foot SAFE boat.

Coast Guard crews report the on-scene weather as challenging, with wind from the northeast at greater than 25 knots and 15-foot seas in the Kauai Channel.

“We’ve launched as many assets as quickly as we can,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Conroy, a search and rescue controller with the Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. “We have narrowed down the search area to a compact debris field and will work as quickly as possible.”

The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead federal agency in Hawaii for aeronautical search and rescue both inland and at sea. The Coast Guard has been working closely with the Kauai Fire Department and Federal Aviation Agency on the search for the Beechcraft.

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