HONOLULU(KHON2) — There was an amazing rescue off West Oahu early Friday, July 2, 2021 after a cargo plan crashed in the ocean shortly after takeoff.
The Boeing 737 cargo plane belonging to Transair crashed in waters roughly two miles off Kalaeloa Airport around 1:45 a.m.
Officials said flight 810 was on its way to Maui.
The Transair cargo flight was en route to Maui when it lost both of its engines crashing about a mile and a mile and half off of Oahu. The Coast Guard and State Department of Transportation Airport Firefighters responded to the call and rescued both of the pilots in their 50’s that were on-board.
The recording of a conversation between the pilots of Transair 810 and Air Traffic Control (ATC) paint a grim picture of the situation moments before the 737 went down.
PILOT: “We’ve lost number one engine, and we’re coming straight to the airport. We’re going to need the fire department and it looks as if we’re going to lose the other engine too. It’s running very hot.”
About 45 seconds later, ATC said: “Low altitude alert, low altitude alert! Are you able to climb at all?”
The FAA confirmed that:
“The pilots had reported engine trouble and were attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the aircraft in the water.”
In a statement Trainsair CEO Teimour Riahi said:
“We are working with the Coast Guard, the FAA and NTSB to secure the scene and investigate the cause.”
“Our most immediate concern is the care and recovery of our colleagues. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.”
State DOT Airport Fire Commander Chief Glen Mitchell said they received the first call at 1:45 a.m.
“We got a call from the tower we have a aircraft who just left coming back with a one engine shut down,” Mitchell said.
Fifteen minutes later they were told both engines were out.
“So now is going to do a water ditching”
Coast Guard Aircraft Commander Alex Mead also responded to the scene.
“There was no signs of smoke, there were no signs of fire,” Mead explained. “There was a very large debris field and there was a ton of jet fuel that seemed to have been from that aircraft as it impacted the water “
They were able to locate the two pilots.
“They were both conscious and waving,” Mead said. “So we knew right away we could affect the rescue in order to get them to safety.”
But one the pilots was in serious danger.
“He was standing on the wreckage of the aircraft and actually lost his footing as the wreckage submerged under the water,” Mead explaind. “It rapidly sank so we had to expedite our recovery process for that survivor in the water as they started to drown.”
Coast Guard rescue swimmer Nesward Marfil was put into the water to retrieve them.
“He went a little limp,” Marfil said. “I secured the rescue device around him, and gave (the flight mechanic) the thumbs up to hoist us back up and got him into the helicopter.”
He was flown directly to Queens Medical Center.
Marfil said he also retrieved the other pilot and took him to a rescue boat nearby.
“I swam to that pile of debris which he was on without moving him toward the fire rescue, and then put him in the water with me, and handed him off to fire rescue, and so they could take care of him.”
Mitchell said he had a laceration on his head and was covered in jet fuel, which was concerning, but for the most part seemed OK.
“The patient actually walked off the boat,” Mitchell said. “So that was a good sign.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is sending 10 investigators Saturday to look into what caused the crash.