Both engines of a Boeing 737-200 cargo plane failed in the early hours of Friday off the coast of Hawaii, forcing an emergency landing in the sea as the pilot radioed air traffic control to inform them they had lost one engine; the second one appeared to be failing and was ‘running very hot’, and ‘it doesn’t look good here’.
In just the latest drama to befall Boeing, the two pilots – one 50, one 58 – were rescued from the sea by the Coast Guard. One sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to hospital; the second, less severely harmed, was transported back to land by boat.
‘Rhoades 810, we’ve lost an engine. We’re on a 220 heading,’ one of the pilots told Honolulu air traffic control, giving the compass reading.
The recording was posted on LiveATC, an audio streaming site that broadcasts air traffic control communications.
Several minutes later, the pilot reported: ‘We’ve lost number one engine, we’re coming straight to the airport.
‘We’re going to need the fire department, there’s a chance we’re going to lose the other engine, it’s running very hot.
‘It doesn’t look good here – you may want to let the coastguard know as well.’
The loss of both engines in the 46-year-old plane – a workhorse of trans-Atlantic passenger travel – has sparked serious alarm.
Images from the Coast Guard show the downed plane, and the helicopter (lit up) winching one of the pilots from the sea
The Coast Guard vessel is visible below the brightly-lit helicopter at around 2am on Friday morning
The National Transportation Safety Board on Friday afternoon said it was sending seven investigators.
The plane went down off West Oahu, about two miles off Kalaeloa Airport, at around 1.45am local time after experiencing trouble with both the plane’s engines.
Initial reports suggested that there was not enough altitude to return to Honolulu, prompting the aircraft to ditch in the sea.
Both crew members were alive after the splashdown, but one of them was said to be in critical condition.
Shares of Boeing fell one per cent in Friday morning trading.
One of the two pilots who were rescued after a Boeing 737 cargo plane that crashed in the water off Honolulu on Friday is pictured being taken to a hospital
It’s been reported that a 50-year-old pilot suffered a head injury and was in a serious condition. It is unclear from the photo which of the pilots is pictured being pushed in a wheelchair
Two pilots were rescued after their Boeing 737 cargo plane crashed on Friday morning in the water off Honolulu
This map from FlightAware.com shows Transair Flight 810 landing in the water 33 minutes after takeoff
The Department of Transportation said the US Coast Guard airlifted one of the pilots to the Queen’s Medical Center, while a rescue boat was transporting the other pilot to shore before he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Queen’s officials said the pilot who was airlifted, described as a 58-year-old man, was in the intensive care unit in critical condition.
The pilot who was rescued by boat, aged 50, was in serious condition with a head injury and multiple lacerations.
Transair Flight 810 departed from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu at 1.33am, bound for Kahului, Maui, but quickly turned back, reported Hawaii News Now.
The Transair Boeing 737-200 cargo plane was en route to Maui from Honolulu when the pilots reported that one engine was down.
Initial tracking data from RadarBox.com showed that the aircraft reached a maximum altitude of just 2,125 feet.
The aircraft’s descent path ‘looks reasonably slow and steady, suggesting that the pilots could glide the aircraft down to the ocean in a controlled manner,’ said SimpleFlying.com.
They said they were having trouble with the second and attempting to return to Honolulu, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
At around 1.46am, the pilots lost their second engine and radioed in that they were going down and being forced to land the aircraft in the ocean.
Flight tracking data stops at around 01:45, with a final recorded altitude of 75 feet.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.
This is one of Transair’s five Boeing 737 planes that are used to transport cargo in Hawaii
Shares of Boeing were trading lower in the hours after the crash on Friday
US Coast Guard Lt. Commander Karin Evelyn said in an email that they received a report around 1.40am of a downed inter-island transport plane.
About an hour later, rescuers in a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the debris field and two people in the water, Evelyn said.
Ditching into the water is rare, and complicated.
Cast Away and the emergency landing
In the 2000 film, Tom Hanks plays a FedEx troubleshooter stranded on a desert island after his plane makes an emergency landing in the South Pacific.
Hanks plays Chuck, who is washed up on a desert island when his plane crashes into the sea
The plane went down in a storm, and Hanks’ character was the only survivor. He went on to spend four years on the island, until he was eventually rescued.
The film was shot in Monuriki, an island that forms part of Fiji.
The island of Monuriki saw a boom in tourism after the film was made
‘It’s not something that is very common,’ said Carolina Anderson, an associate professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
She told Insider in February: ‘You see them in smaller airplanes more often, in big airliners not very often.’
While ditching, pilots have to keep the wings level and maintain an incoming angle that is not too steep to prevent a hard impact, and avoid the plane breaking up.
The crew will brace for impact.
The weather conditions in Hawaii have not been specified, but clear conditions give a pilot better control over the aircraft and increased visibility.
‘You’re not going to float for very long, and if you land too hard, the chances of breaking it are very high because water is going to get in and it’s going to start sinking,’ said Anderson.
‘Basically, you want to touch down as slow and as soft as possible. If the airplane has retractable landing gear, you want the gear to be up and you want the flaps to be completely down.’
Transair bills itself as Hawaii’s largest air cargo providers, boasting a fleet of five Boeing 737 and five Bombardier SD3-60-300 planes that fly daily to all major islands. The company has been in operation since 1982.
DailyMail.com reached out to Transair for comment on the crash and was awaiting a response.
FAA records show the plane that crashed was manufactured in 1975. The plane was first delivered to Pacific Western Airlines and joined Transair’s fleet in 2014, according to Flightradar24.com.
Rhoades Aviation Inc does business as Transair, which bills itself as Hawaii’s largest air cargo carriers and has been in business since 1982. It has a fleet of five Boeing 737 planes that fly daily to all major Hawaiian island destinations, according to its website.
Boeing said it was ‘aware of the reports out of Honolulu, Hawaii and are closely monitoring the situation. We are in contact with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and are working to gather more information.’
Boeing’s 737 MAX was cleared to fly by regulators late last year after a 20-month grounding following two accidents that killed hundreds of people.
The 737 in Friday’s incident was an older generation than the MAX.