Pilot Makes Frantic Cell Phone Call For Help
Coast Guard sailors Monday recounted
the dramatic nighttime rescue of three people injured when their
Piper Warrior crash-landed on Hawaii's Big Island.
KITV Television reports the plane went down on a lava flow
described by rescuers as "jagged, super sharp, just a nasty area."
A Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to the area after a frantic
series of calls to 911 from the pilot, who used one of her
passenger's cell phones.
- Dispatcher: Fire department address and location of your
- Pilot: Just south of Milolii.
- Dispatcher: I'm sorry I can barely hear you.
- Pilot: Just south, south of Milo- Milolii.
- Dispatcher: South of Milolii?
- Pilot: Yes, the plane. Three people... we're OK, but we need
- Dispatcher: I'm sorry. This is on the highway?
- Pilot: Crashed plane! An airplane!
- Dispatcher: An airplane crash.
- Pilot: Correct.
- Dispatcher: South of Milolii. How many people on board.
- Pilot: Three!
- Dispatcher: Three people. Is everybody ok?
- Pilot: Yes, please help us.
- Pilot: (garbled) call Island Hoppers. Island Hoppers.
- Dispatcher: Ok, you know what, can you guys just, hello?
- Pilot: Hello?
- Dispatcher: Ok, you need to try to calm down, OK? I understand
you're scared, but I need to get information from you, OK?
- Pilot: Yes, Yes.
- Dispatcher: If you yell, I cannot understand you, OK?
- Pilot: Yes.
The pilot was unable to describe her
exact location, making a rescue all the more difficult. But she was
able to tell dispatchers about the injuries she and the others
sustained in the accident.
- Dispatcher: How bad are the burns?
- Pilot: We have burns, three people we need help.
- Dispatcher: Burns to where? They're being sent, OK? Burns to
- Pilot: What?
- Dispatcher: Burns to what part of your body?
- Pilot: burns, head and uh, hands.
- Dispatcher: Head and hands. Anybody...
- Pilot: Arms, back...
- Dispatcher: Head, hands, arms, back...
- Pilot: legs...
- Rescuers were dispatched to the general area as the phone
- Dispatcher: Hello?
- Pilot: Yes?
- Dispatcher: Ok, are you guys still burning or is the fire out
on the people?
- Pilot: The fire is still burning. The plane is still on
- Dispatcher: The plane is, but the people are not, right? Is
anybody trapped in the plane?
- Pilot: Yes?
- Dispatcher: Is anybody trapped in the plane?
- Pilot: No.
- Dispatcher: No, everybody is out.
- Pilot: Yes.
- Dispatcher: OK.
Rescuers didn't find the wrecked Warrior until long after dark
-- sometime after 8:00 pm local, according to Coast Guard
officials. They found the two passengers near the aircraft.
"They were so happy to see us. On our first pass, I just
remember the guy waving his shirt, standing on the tail of the
aircraft. I couldn't believe he was moving so much because he was
so badly burnt, as a matter of fact the shirt he was waving was
burnt," Petty Officer 1st Class Roger Wilson said.
But the pilot had walked off to find help. She was found about
150 yards away, lying curled up in a ravine, according to KITV.
"I shined the light down on her and she was just ecstatic to see
me. She thought she was left. She told me, 'They left me. They left
me.' And I told her, 'No, we are here. We are here to help,'"
FAA Preliminary Accident Report
Make/Model: PA28 Description: PA-28
CHEROKEE, ARROW, WARRIOR, ACHER, D
Date: 04/18/2004 Time: 0315
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
None Mid Air: N Missing:
State: HI Country: US
ACFT DEPARTED ON A SIGHT SEEING TOUR AND CRASHED UNDER
CIRCUMSTANCES IN A LAVA FIELD APROXIMATELY 10 MILES SOUTH OF
ACFT WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE, THE THREE PERSONS ON BOARD
INJURIES, MILOLII, HI
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 2 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
Activity: Pleasure Phase:
Unknown Operation: General
Dep Date: 04/18/2004 Dep. Time: 0215
Flt Plan: VFR
Wx Briefing: Y
Last Radio Cont: CLR TO SOUTH REQUEST FREQ CHGE
Last Clearance: CLRD FOR T/O RY 17 G
FAA FSDO: HONOLULU, HI
Entry date: 04/19/2004