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FAA probes plane's emergency landing on Maui highway

By Gregg K. Kakesako

POSTED: 08:34 p.m. HST, Oct 21, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration  and the National Transportation Safety Board said today they are investigating Monday night's emergency landing by a Mokulele Express plane on a Maui highway.

An FAA official said Mokulele Express flight 1770, a Cessna Caravan, lost engine power after departing from Kahului Airport for Kamuela. The plane, with two pilots and eight passengers, landed safely on Piilani Highway in Kihei just after 7 p.m., authorities said.

No one was injured and there was no damage to the plane nor anything on the ground, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

An NTSB spokesman in Washington, D.C., said the agency is in the preliminary stage of its investigation and hasn't determined whether to send an investigator to Maui.

Ron Hansen, Mokulele's CEO, praised the efforts of the two pilots.

He declined to identify either pilot, but told the Star-Advertiser this morning, "We're very proud of both of them. Both did a phenomenal job.

"They did exactly what pilots are trained all they life to do in an emergency situation. They did exactly the right thing," Hansen said.

This incident occurred about 50 yards south of the Piilani Highway and Kilohana Drive intersection, in the northbound lane of the highway.

Maui Police dispatch received a call at about 7 p.m. saying the plane needed to make an emergency landing, said Lt. William Juan, MPD spokesman. "The pilot conducted a safe landing onto Piilani Highway between Kilohana Drive and Okolani Drive in Wailea," he said in a statement. 

Adam Burke, who lives in a nearby condominium, told the Maui News that the highway usually is busy with cars but was vacant when the aircraft landed.

Police closed Piilani Highway between Kilohana and Wailea Ike Drive for two hours after the landing.

Maui fire officials said today that the plane was moved off the highway to an empty lot near Kilohana Drive and Piilani highway.

The NTSB spokesman said it will be the responsibility of Mokuele to move the aircraft to a secure location if a detailed investigation is needed.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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CORRECTION: State Department of Transportation officials are not investigating the emergency landing, as was reported in an earlier version of this story.

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