NTSB releases preliminary report on missing Cessna off Molokai

Courtesy Photo: U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific
Courtesy Photo: U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary report Thursday of a Cessna with three on board that went missing off Molokai in late December.

The report echoes what the U.S. Coast Guard had revealed, saying the airplane disappeared from air traffic control radar off the northwestern tip of the island. The NTSB says it disappeared shortly after takeoff and is presumed to have crashed in the Pacific Ocean.

The small plane with a tail number N174LL went missing on Dec. 30, 2016, around 6:49, according to the report. It was en route to Honolulu International Airport from Molokai Airport in Kaunakakai on a “personal flight.”

The airplane was registered to Yamataka Kumiko and operated by Lani Lea Sky Tours.

The report says “visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight” that departed Molokai Airport around 6:43 p.m. Preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data sowed that the airplane immediately started a climb to the west after departure.

The airplane then entered a descending right turn seconds after it reached a maximum altitude of approximately 2,525 feet at 6:48 p.m., according to the early findings.

The radar track ended about a minute later, over open water approximately 7 nautical miles northwest of Molokai Airport.

A search rescue effort began immediately after the missing airplane report was issued, but was suspended on Jan. 2, 2017.

To date, the missing airplane has not been located and an emergency locator signal has not been reported.

The pilot was identified as Michael Childers and the passengers were Whitney Thomas and John Mizuno.

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