Update: FAA investigating tour plane crash at Kona Airport on Hawai‘i Island
An investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration has been launched into the crash of a Big Island Air tour plane that aborted its takeoff on Tuesday morning and hit hard without landing gear before ending up outside the safety runway area at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport.
It is not clear if the plane was operating a tour at the time of the crash. Nobody answered the business phone for Big Island Air and there was no immediate response to an email sent to the company.
The Hawai’i Department of Transportation said a twin-engine Cessna P337H with five on board was taking off at 8:51 a.m. from Runway 35 when the take off was aborted.
“Flight 2, I don’t know if you copied, but Skymaster … just crashed off the north end,” the air traffic controller at the airport said.
The plane came to rest “outside the runway safety area,” according to communications with the controller immediately following the incident. To listen to the air traffic control communications with the pilot, click here.
The airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighters responded. The pilot suffered abrasions, but no one was seriously hurt, according to the state’s transportation department that operates the airport.
Communications with the air traffic controller said “no medical support was needed, everyone getting out of the aircraft.”
The aircraft tail number of the 1979 Cessna is N5KR, owned by Hana Like II LLC, located in Kailua-Kona, according to FlightAware. It was registered to Hana Like II in 2019. State records show that Big Island Air Kona is a registered name of the limited liability company.
Big Island Air’s Facebook pages says: “The Oldest Air tour company in the State of Hawaii! Flying the newest State of the Art Aircraft.”
The tours include a premier island tour, twilight tour, VIP air adventure and summits & waterfalls tour.
Normal operations at Kona Airport have resumed with only a brief delay to determine if the plane was outside of the runway safety area.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with information about the owner of the plane and communications with the air traffic controller.