Bad Weather Reported at Time of Fatal Plane Crash in Kokeʻe
Investigators attributed bad weather as the cause of a plane crash along the Na Pali coast that killed two people.
According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Cessna 172N airplane went down just before 3 p.m. on March 20, killing James Degnan, age 76, of Princeville, and David Parker, age 78, of Kapa‘a.
The accident airplane, owned and operated by the Civil Air Patrol, was conducting a routine hurricane/tsunami practice flight.
“Witnesses reported to the Kauaʻi police department that just before the accident, they reported seeing an airplane flying low, and close to the mountain, in poor weather conditions, then hearing a loud crashing noise,” the NTSB report stated.
A multi-agency search began for the aircraft in Kōke‘e following the crash. A search and rescue helicopter, operated by the Kauaʻi Fire Department, subsequently located the fragmented airplane wreckage in an area of steep mountainous terrain and confirmed that there were no survivors.
The airplane was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS–B), which provides aircraft tracking to determine its position via satellite navigation or other sensors and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.
According to archived Federal Aviation Administration ADS-B data, after the airplane departed the Līhuʻe Airport, it initially proceeded southwest, then turned north as it neared the northwest side of the island. The airplane then turns to an easterly heading, towards an area of rising terrain.
ADS-B data stops near where the wreckage was found.
The scene of the crash has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration for further investigation. This is the second fatal plane reported on Kauaʻi in March.