Two pilots from missing private plane rescued off Hawaii coast, officials say

HONOLULU, July 15 (UPI) — A search by the U.S. Coast Guard for a missing private plane off the coast of Hawaii on Friday has led to the rescue of both people on board, authorities said.

The dual-engine Piper PA-23 was traveling from Kona, on the island of Hawai’i, to Maui on Thursday afternoon when it disappeared from radar screens 25 miles northwest of Kona. It reported an emergency before it was lost on radar, officials said.

Two people, pilot David McMahon, 26, and co-pilot Sydnie Uemoto, a woman in her 20s, were on board, McMahon’s father Rick told Hawaii News Now. Both pilots are employed by Hawaii’s regional Mokulele Airlines.

After a lengthy search, a Coast Guard helicopter pulled both victims from the water on Friday about a mile offshore in the Pacific Ocean. Officials said they received only minor injuries.

“I’m just elated. The nightmare is finally over!” Rich McMahon said Friday.

“Both of them are alive. It’s unbelievable,” he added. “The Navy, the Coast Guard, the local fishermen, the family charter boats that went out — it’s unreal. The support and the love of this community and this island, there’s nothing like it in the world.”

The pilots of the plane reported experiencing engine failure before they went down, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The military’s search involved an HC-130 Hercules and a Navy P-3 Orion; helicopters, including a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin and a Navy MH-60R, and marine vessels, the Coast Guard said.

The cause of the pilots’ crash is under investigation.

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