On December 15, 2022, a Raytheon twin-engine air ambulance malfunctioned as a Hawai’i Life Flight pilot was en route to Waimea on the Big Island to pick up a patient.
The pilot was given instructions by a specialist to maintain 8,000 feet while turning right at 170 degrees. A final radio transmission was sent a few seconds before the plane crashed into the open ocean. The preliminary aviation investigation report regarding the crash was made public on Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
About the Report Looking into the Air Ambulance Crash
The air ambulance reportedly crashed into the Maui Channel off the coast of Kaupo, according to a witness on another aircraft. At 10:53 p.m., the flight, which was run by Guardian Flight, the company that owns Hawai’i Life Flight, departed from Kahului Airport on Maui. A patient from Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital was to be picked up by air ambulance at the Waimea-Kohala Airport and transported to Honolulu’s more sophisticated medical facilities.
According to a preliminary analysis of archived voice communication data from the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft traveled along Maui’s shoreline while heading east-southeast and climbing to a height of roughly 13,000 feet.
The Communication Lines were Open
Shortly before the crash, an air control specialist gave the pilot the order to descend to 8,000 feet, and the pilot agreed. The pilot acknowledged the instructions after the specialist gave him the go-ahead to fly on a heading of 180 degrees and cleared the flight to fly directly to Tammi, the first approach marker for Waimea-Kohala Airport. The aircraft eventually turned south after reaching a height of 11,000 feet as it approached the northeastern coast of Maui. An accident airplane’s impact with the water was seen by a witness. The aircraft had an Appareo Vision 1000 cockpit-mounted Airborne Image Recording System, a Dukane underwater acoustical beacon, and a cockpit voice recorder.