Two Airplanes Successfully Ditch In Pacific


image from USCG video

Two airplanes, a Cirrus SR22 and a single-engine Cessna, ditched off the coast of Hawaii Monday morning, and all on board have been rescued. The Cirrus chute deployment, splashdown and subsequent rescue were caught on video by the U.S. Coast Guard. The pilot was alone on board, on a ferry flight from Tracy, California. He contacted the Hawaii National Guard at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday and reported he had just three hours of fuel left and planned to ditch the airplane 230 miles northeast of Maui. The Coast Guard sent an HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter to rendezvous with the airplane.

The pilot deployed the SR-22’s parachute system at about 4:44 p.m. and splashed down safely in the Pacific. The seas were 9 to 12 feet and winds up to 28 mph, the Coast Guard said. The pilot climbed into a life raft and was taken aboard a nearby cruise ship en route to Maui, while the Hercules crew stood by. The Cessna pilot contacted the Hawaii Control Facility at Honolulu International Airport about 6 p.m. on Sunday and reported that the airplane, on a flight from Kauai to Oahu, was running out of fuel and he might have to ditch. The airplane disappeared from radar less than 10 minutes later. All four on board, three adults and one child, were rescued by a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew. They were hoisted aboard and taken ashore where they were being treated for exposure at a medical facility; their conditions were not reported.