A search is underway for a medical transport plane that crashed into the sea near Hawaii with three people onboard, authorities have said.
The Hawaii Life Flight aircraft was reported to be a King Air twin engine prop plane, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a tweet by the US Coast Guard.
The Honolulu Control Facility reported losing radar contact with the plane about 15 nautical miles offshore South of Hana, Maui, according to the US Coast Guard.
Global Medical Response confirmed in a post on Facebook that one of its Hawaii Life Flight fixed-wing planes went off radar Thursday night and the company is in an active search and rescue with the US Coast Guard.
“The plane went off radar at 21:27 local time on December 15 as they were en route from Maui to Waimea Big Island. We have three team members and no patient on board,” said the company, noting that “we are doing everything we can to bring our team members home.”
All Hawaii Life Flight transports have been temporarily paused as a standard procedure, reported Hawaii’s KITV Television station.
A flight instructor with George’s Aviation, who asked to remain anonymous, witnessed the plane as it went down, said the report, adding that the pilot then circled the area where the plane went down while communicating with air traffic control until eventually heading back to Honolulu.
The US National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the crash.