One missing after Hana plane crash
Passing aircraft see smoke coming from the downed wreckage
WAILUKU » Authorities were to resume a search today for a person believed to be aboard a single-engine aircraft that crashed yesterday afternoon in mountainous terrain in the Hana Forest Reserve, less than six miles southwest of the Hana Airport.
Fire Capt. Mark Paranada said a fire rescue worker on a 75-foot-long line was able to get to the scene of the crash but was unable to see anyone in or outside the aircraft.
Paranada said the fuselage was split open and the nose end of the aircraft was "fairly well impacted," and a person could be in that section of the aircraft.
"It looked like it was high impact, and no one was going to get tossed out," he said.
Paranada said he did not know the departure point or destination of the aircraft or the name of the person believed to be aboard it.
The airplane is owned by Maui Aviator Flight School at Kahului Airport, police said.
Paranada said the rescue worker was tethered to the line throughout the search on the 75-degree slope, and his maneuverability was limited. The search was suspended last night because of darkness and the difficult terrain.
"He could only move so far," Paranada said about the rescue worker who looked at the plane.
Fire officials were expected to consult with police before deciding on search plans.
County firefighters and police in Hana were initially called at 3:49 p.m. yesterday to respond to a possible forest fire above Hana Town.
The possible fire had been reported by the air traffic control tower at Kahului Airport by a passing aircraft.
A Windward Aviation helicopter found the smoke was coming from a downed aircraft.
The flight school charges $144 an hour for its rental use of the four-seat Cessna 172SP aircraft. The aircraft is one of six listed on the flight school's Web site. School officials were not available for comment last night.
Besides renting its aircraft, Maui Aviators offers a variety of flight instruction to help an individual obtain a pilot's license.