Maui News

Air medical support for Maui increases as search for missing aircraft continues

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The search continues for a missing aircraft and the three crew members aboard in waters off of East Maui. The twin-engine prop plane was reported missing on Thursday evening, approximately 15 nautical miles offshore and south of Hāna, Maui, according to the US Coast Guard.

The fixed wing medical response airplane based in Maui County, went off radar while enroute to pick up a patient in Waimea on the Big Island at 9:27 p.m. HST on Dec. 15, 2022, according to earlier information confirmed by a spokesperson for Hawaiʻi Life Flight.

On Friday morning, the USCG Tweeted that one of its aircraft reported seeing a sheen in the search area, and a USCG patrol boat recovered debris, but noted there was no confirmation that it was from the missing aircraft.


“Hawaiʻi Life Flight extends its deepest gratitude to the US Coast Guard, Governor Green, Emergency AirLift and the community for their assistance and continued support during this difficult time,” according to a statement issued by Global Medical Response on Saturday afternoon.

“As the search continues, we ask that you continue to keep our three crew members and their families in your prayers.”

–Global Medical Response

As part of standard protocol during air incidents, the company reports that it placed all of its Hawaiʻi Life Flight aircraft and crews on a “safety standdown” so that precautionary maintenance checks can be performed on all similar aircraft, and so that all crewmembers can focus on their mental well-being.


On Friday, the air medical services were immediately available through a medic helicopter, according to the company. Officials with Hawaiʻi Life Flight on Saturday announced it is increasing island air medical support in Maui County starting at 2 p.m. on Dec. 17, 2022.

In a statement, Global Medical Response said:

“Hawaiʻi Life Flight has increased its air medical support to ensure communities and patients have the necessary medical transport services. Officials said we have worked closely with our sister companies as well as state, local and industry officials to ensure a continuation of this critical level of service remains. As part of the Global Medical Response family, Hawaiʻi Life Flight has been and will continue to receive operational support from its sister companies, including the GMR medical helicopter based in Maui.”


Gov. Josh Green issued an emergency proclamation in the hours following the incident, enabling additional air medical teams to be placed into service.

GMR reports air teams from AirMed International and REACH Air Medical Services were placed into service on Saturday, and it has partnered with Emergency AirLift in Klamath Falls, Ore. to augment air medical support in Hawaiʻi during the search effort.

“In addition to staffing multiple helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from GMR companies, GMR clinicians will be staffing two Black Hawk helicopters operated by the state,” according to GMR.

The additional support includes both inter-island and long-distance medical air support.

In a Tweet, the USCG noted that its Auxiliary units and the Civil Air Patrol joined the search for the missing aircraft on Saturday.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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