Friday, December 31, 2004

Engine failure crashed
airplane, NTSB reports

WAILUKU » The emergency ditching of an airplane in the ocean north of Maui last year was probably caused by the loss of engine power, but the reason for the problem remains undetermined, the National Transportation Safety Board has found.

The Coast Guard was able to rescue William Swears and his wreckage about 93 miles northeast of Maui. Swears, then a Coast Guard lieutenant commander who was close to retirement and planning to move to Alaska, was ferrying the Suminski Cozy Canard Pusher airplane to California when the ditching occurred at about 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2003.

Swears called for assistance when the engine continued to lose oil pressure, and the engine seized, forcing him to ditch the airplane.

He was severely injured but survived the ordeal of being in the ocean for 3 1/2 hours.

Part of the airframe and the engine washed ashore on a beach near Hilo on the Big Island about 30 days after the accident, but inspection of the remaining parts of the engine disclosed no definite evidence of what precipitated the loss of engine power, according to a NTSB report released Tuesday.

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