POSTED: 03:35 p.m. HST, Oct 07, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 05:41 p.m. HST, Oct 08, 2011
The pilot of a Cessna 310 was taken to a hospital but had no significant injury after ditching his aircraft northeast of Hawaii island Friday evening when he ran out of fuel before reaching Hilo, Coast Guard officials said.
The pilot ditched the twin-engine plane at 5:23 p.m. about 13 miles northeast of Hawaii Island, and it sank at 5:37 p.m., a Coast Guard spokesman said.
Police identified him as Charles Brian Mellor, of Puerto De Santa Maria, Spain.
When rescue crews reached the 65-year-old man, he was coherent, able to talk and without significant injury, according to the Coast Guard.
A Coast Guard helicopter took him to Hilo Medical Center.
The pilot was the sole occupant of the plane which he was flying from Monterey, Calif., to Hilo, officials said. He informed the Federal Aviation Administration that he did not think he had enough fuel to complete the journey. The FAA alerted the Coast Guard at 12:30 p.m.
The Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Barbers Point to find the plane and assist the pilot once he ditched the aircraft, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Angela Henderson said.
A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and the Cutter Kiska with a rescue crew and small boat aboard were also dispatched to the scene.
Rescue crews talked the pilot through what he has to do for the water landing and were to lay down flares in the ocean to create a runway for him, Coast Guard officials said. The flares would allow him to see what the swells are doing to give him a better landing.
Coast Guard pilots mapped out the shortest route to help guide the Cessna pilot closer to Hawaii island.
Hilo is about 2,300 miles west of Monterey.
The Cessna 310, which was produced between 1953 to 1980 and can seat five to six people, has a maximum range, without fuel reserves, of between 762 miles and 1,955 miles, depending on the altitude flown, according to Airliners.net.