Two missing people who were aboard a plane that went missing off Kailua-Kona Thursday afternoon have been found alive on Friday and are back on land, according to Coast Guard officials. They sustained minor injuries. They were taken to Kona International Airport to be checked out by paramedics.
The Federal Aviation Adminstration says the pilot, David McMahon, reported engine trouble and the plane was ditched in the ocean shortly after.
The Coast Guard initially said McMahon and Sidney Uemoto were flying from Maui to Kona, but they were actually flying from West Oahu to Kona. The FAA confirmed the West Oahu to Kona flight path.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
10 a.m. Friday
Search and rescue crews with the New Zealand Air Force spotted debris in the ocean about 52 miles off of Kailua-Kona Friday morning, according to the Coast Guard. A Coast Guard Cutter is en route to that area. The area where debris was seen is already part of the search area. It is unclear at this time if the debris is from the missing plane.
The search area has been extended to 45 miles offshore.
The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and a crew from the New Zealand military participating in RIMPAC are searching for a plane that went missing while traveling to the Big Island Thursday afternoon.
They are searching 40 nautical miles off the coast of Kona, after the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from Honolulu control facility personnel that the pilot of Piper PA23 aircraft with two people aboard radioed an in-air emergency.
The Coast Guard identified the pilot of the small, dual-engine plane as 26-year-old David McMahon of Kailua. Sidney Uemoto, 22, was also aboard the missing plane, according to the Coast Guard.
David's father tells KITV his son is a commercial pilot for Mokulele Airlines, but that David and his friend are not in a Mokulele aircraft.
David's family is hoping aviators, boaters, and people who know him will assist in the search.
After David and his friend radioed an in-air emergency, the tower confirmed that's when they lost contact and the plane no longer appeared on radar.
The plane was reportedly traveling to Kona from Maui, with the last known position approximately 25 miles northwest of Kona.
On scene conditions at the aircraft's last known position are reportedly 12 mph winds from the northeast with waves 2 feet or less and an east swell of 4 feet. Visibility is limited with haze, isolated showers and darkness.