The U.S. Coast Guard expanded its search today for a missing Cessna aircraft that reportedly went down north of Molokai last night with three people on board.
The Coast Guard also identified the missing as pilot Michael Childers and two passengers: John Mizuno and Whitney Thomas. State Rep. John Mizuno confirmed he was not on the plane.
The search was extended to 17 miles northeast of Ilio Point, the northwestern tip of the island.
Coast Guard rescuers were searching with an HC-130 Hercules airplane, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, and the cutter Kittiwake. The Maui Fire Department was assisting with air and surface assets, the Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle said this morning that searchers had not found any evidence of the wreckage.
“The search continues today and we are covering as much area out on the water as we can,” she said by phone.
Winds in the area were reported to be 23 mph with 6- to 8-foot seas and scattered showers.
The Hawaii Patrol Facility at Honolulu Airport notified the Coast Guard at about 7 p.m. Friday that a Cessna 172 had left Molokai Airport for Oahu and disappeared off the radar. The Cessna had the tail number N174LL.
The Cessna is believed to have crashed about 4 miles east of Ilio Point.
Bad weather hampered the search late Friday night with visibility at near zero, forcing the Coast Guard’s helicopter and aircraft crews to return to Oahu. The Kittiwake remained on scene, searching overnight.
The helicopter and airplane crews returned at first light this morning, Molle said.
Last night, winds at the scene were reported to be about 19 mph with 4- to 6-foot seas.