Pacific Ditching Caught On Video

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It’s not often that a video camera is handy at the exact moment a pilot has to ditch, but that was the case when a pilot ferrying a Cessna 310 to Hawaii from California ran out of fuel on Friday. Charles Mellor, 65, told controllers he was running low on fuel when he was about 500 miles from Hilo, about 11 hours after his departure from Monterey. The Coast Guard sent an HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Barbers Point in Honolulu to escort the airplane. Coast Guard pilots maintained communications with Mellor for more than an hour until his engines quit, about 13 miles from land. After splashing down, Mellor climbed from the cockpit onto the wing. A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew assisted in the rescue, sending a rescue swimmer to fetch Mellor and help hoist him into the helicopter. Mellor was taken to a hospital in Hilo and later released. He suffered no significant injuries, the Coast Guard said.

An airport manager told the Monterey Herald that Mellor bought 151.8 gallons of fuel before departing for Hawaii on Friday morning. The flight was arranged by American King Air Services. The company posted “sincere gratitude to USCG ‘Guardians of the Pacific'” on Facebook on Monday, and also said they will work together with the NTSB to investigate the incident and determine a cause. The 310 sank a few minutes after the ditching.