The pilot of a twin-engine Cessna 337 is safe after ditching his plane in Keehi Lagoon this afternoon.
The pilot departed Honolulu International Airport at about 11:55 a.m. for John Rogers Field in Kalaeloa when he discovered a landing gear problem, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.
The pilot was unable to lower his landing gear, so he circled the airport for two hours burning off fuel, until landing in the lagoon at 1:55 p.m., an FAA spokesman said in an email.
Rescue crews were standing by and reached the aircraft within seconds after it landed in the water.
The pilot made the emergency landing at Sea Lane 4/22 off of Lagoon Drive, which is used as a runway for sea planes, said state Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara.
He was the only person on board.
Rescue crews reported that the pilot was responsive and safe and did not appear to be seriously injured, Sakahara said.
An Emegency Medical Services spokeswoman said the pilot was a 68-year-old man and he did not require transportation to the hospital. Although television news videos and photos show him entering an ambulance.
A check of the plane’s tail number shows it is a Cessna 337 Skymaster, a twin-engine plane that can seat four, with “push-pull” engines in front and back of the fuselage.
It is registered to Mark Jones, the president and chief flight instructor of Moore Air, a flying club that offers planes for personal rental. It also has a flight training center.
Jones was the 2011 Hawaii Flight Instructor of the Year, according to the Moore Air website, and has 40 years of experience flying military and civilian aircraft.
The plane’s original airworthiness certificate was issued in 1980 and it was last certified on Aug. 8, 2014. The certificate is valid until Aug. 31, 2017.