Hawaii News

Emergency relief period extended in response to Hawai‘i Life Flight accident in waters between Maui and Big Island

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With Hawaiʻi Life Flight in a transition phase as its crews come back online and it begins coming out of a “safety stand down” following the apparent accident earlier this month off the coast of Maui involving one of the company’s air medical transport aircrafts, Gov. Josh Green has extended an emergency proclamation in response.

During a Dec. 22 vigil, three wreaths were placed on the sand to honor a flight nurse, a paramedic and a pilot who were never found after their aircraft apparently crashed in waters between Maui and the Big Island. Photo credit: Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now

Green extended the disaster emergency relief period through Jan. 6, 2023. The governor issued the emergency proclamation Dec. 16, activating collaborative efforts to add personnel, airframes and other important resources, the day after the flight went missing. The emergency resources have cared for 52 patients to date.

“By coordinating efforts between Hawaiʻi Life Flight, the state Department of Health, the Army National Guard, the Coast Guard, the mayors and medical facilities throughout the state, we helped to ensure that emergency transport was available for critically ill patients, especially those throughout our neighbor island communities,” Green said in a news release announcing the extension. “Together, we worked collaboratively and maintained emergency air medical transport.”

The Hawaiʻi Life Flight medical transport aircraft, with three crew members aboard, went missing the night of Dec. 15 in the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel between Maui and the Big Island. After an extensive search by the U.S. Coast Guard and several other agencies, neither the crew nor the aircraft were found.


Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara said he is proud of the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard’s professionalism and responsiveness while providing critical patient air transport support during the past eight days since the proclamation was issued. Green authorized the emergency use of National Guard helicopters — and select crews — to temporarily support Hawaiʻi Life Flight.

“The operations aligned with the state’s priority of saving lives and preventing human suffering,” Hara said in the press release from Green’s office.

The extended emergency proclamation can be found here.



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