UPDATE: 2 Dead in Moloka‘i Cessna Plane Crash
An investigation has been launched into a deadly plane crash reported on Molokaʻi earlier today.
Allen Kenitzer with the FAA Office of Communications tells Maui Now that the accident occurred near Maunaloa, Hawaiʻi when a Cessna 206 aircraft crashed while inbound to the Molokaʻi Airport under “unknown circumstances.”
According to Kenitzer, the aircraft was the subject of a search earlier on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017.
Local authorities say that at least two people were onboard, and have confirmed two fatalities from within the aircraft.
Kenitzer called the information preliminary and said both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
Officials from the Maui Fire Department say the small private aircraft went down late Sunday morning, Dec. 10, 2017 about four miles west of the airport.
Emergency crews received the call at 11:15 a.m. from the aircraft traffic control tower at Molokaʻi Airport that they had lost communication from an aircraft that would have been around 3-4 miles west of the airfield at last contact.
At around 12:12 p.m., Molokaʻi firefighters located the crash site and wreckage, but crews did not find any survivors. While responding to the crash site, fire crews reported low cloud ceilings and fog that dipped down to ground level while on the Maunaloa Highway. It was not raining at the time.
The crash site was described to be about a half-mile east of the Molokaʻi VOR, a navigational aid used by aircraft flying into the Molokaʻi Airport during times of bad weather. Workers from Molokaʻi Ranch assisted crews by opening locked gates so firefighters could gain access to remote areas to search for the missing aircraft.
Crews used small all-terrain-vehicles to reach the crash site because the heavily mudded roads from recent rains made it too difficult for larger fire trucks to pass. Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the aircraft apparently caught fire and burned in the crash and firefighters had to fully extinguish areas that were still smoldering.
Firefighters and police will be removing the bodies from the aircraft this afternoon. Molokaʻi police will be securing the scene until federal investigators from the FAA and NTSB can arrive.
*Check back for further information, which will be posted as it becomes available.