NTSB report: Small plane lost power in Makaha water landing

Video still courtesy Anthony Leon

A preliminary report by the NTSB released Friday states that the small plane that ditched in waters off Makaha May 23 did so due to loss of engine power.

About 11:37 a.m. that day, a Beech C23, registration number N6697Y, sustained substantial damage following a loss of engine power and subsequent ditching within the open waters near Waianae.

The private pilot and his passenger — later identified as Eric Kawamoto and his wife — sustained minor injuries.

The interisland flight originated from the Lihue Airport, about 20 minutes prior to the accident, with an intended destination of Kalaeloa Airport in Kapolei.

Kawamoto reported that during the climb to cruise portion of the flight, the engine began to run rough. He applied carburetor heat, which resolved the roughness, and he continued his climb to 5,500 feet mean sea level.

As the flight was approaching Oahu, the engine began running rough, in addition to a reduction of engine rpm to about 1,700. Kawamoto applied carburetor heat and adjusted the mixture, but was unsuccessful at restoring engine power.

He then initiated a forced landing into the ocean, with the plane coming to rest nose low partially submerged within about 20 feet of water, about 50 to 75 feet from the shoreline.

Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the forward portion of the fuselage was damaged.

The wreckage was recovered from the water on May 26 and has been moved to a secure location for further examination.

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