Maui News

Kauai Rescuers recover two bodies from Big Flats

February 17, 2011, 9:24 AM HST
* Updated February 17, 9:44 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Divers from the Kauai Fire Department recovered two bodies off Kauai’s south shore at approximately 4:50 yesterday afternoon. While not identified, officials believe the bodies to be that of the victims of Tuesday’s ultra light crash.

U.S. Coast Guard file photo courtesy PA3 Michael De Nyse.

The pilot Jim Gaither, 55, of Hanapepe and his passenger, 49-year-old Kim Buergel of Spokane, Washington, were reported missing at around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday after kayakers witnessed their aircraft crash into the water.

Rescue crews used sonar technology to pick up images, prompting divers to investigate further. The bodies were recovered from an area known as Big Flats. Rescuers also located the aircraft’s motor in the vicinity. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration are now looking into the cause of the crash.

“Our condolences go out to the families of the victims who have waited patiently for results of the search,” said Fire Chief Bob Westerman. “Obviously, this is a terrible loss for them. Hopefully, the recovery of the remains can provide some closure.

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