HONOLULU, Hawaii -- A 500-yard safety zone has been established two miles south of Kewalo Basin off Oahu, the site of a downed Department of Defense contracted airplane, Wednesday.
“We’ve consulted NOAA and based on the weather, winds, and currents we do not expect any shoreline impacts by fuel or debris,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gregg Maye, Incident Management Chief, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Our cutter crew will remain on scene overnight, and we will support the DoD with any attempts to recover the plane."
The public is asked to avoid the area for safety reasons. The Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) crew is on the scene and will remain on site to enforce the safety zone overnight. A maximum potential fuel load of 900 gallons of Jet A fuel is reported aboard the aircraft.
The FAA notified the Coast Guard of the incident at 2:23 p.m. A Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium was in the vicinity conducting training and witnessed the incident.
“We witnessed the pilot eject and the aircraft enter the water,” said Chief Petty Officer Cory Palmer, the coxswain of the RB-M. “We immediately diverted to respond. A parasailing boat also responded and put a person in the water to help disentangle the pilot. We appreciate their quick response.”
The RB-M successfully recovered the pilot from the water minutes later and returned to the station where he was transferred in stable condition to Hawaii City and County Fire Department emergency medical services. The AHI and an Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew were also diverted to respond.
The aircraft was engaged in the Hawaii Air National Guard led Sentry Aloha exercise. All further questions regarding the aircraft, exercise, pilot, investigation, and future operations should be directed to the Hawaii Air National Guard at 808-441-7000 or 808-448-4081 until further notice.