Boeing 737 cargo jet makes emergency landing off Honolulu, crew injured

A Boeing 737 cargo aircraft with two crew on board was forced to make an emergency landing on the water off Honolulu early Friday after the pilots reported engine trouble, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Local media reported that one pilot was in critical condition, and the other was in serious condition.

Transair Flight 810 had been expected to go from Honolulu to Kahului, the main airport on Maui, according to aviation data from FlightAware.

The plane was “attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the aircraft in the water” at about 1:30 am local time, an FAA spokeswoman said in a statement.

“According to preliminary information, the US Coast Guard rescued both crew members. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” the statement said.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard, Petty Officer Third Class Matthew West, told CNN that a Coast Guard helicopter rescued one of the crew, while “a fire department helicopter rescued the other.” 

A Coast Guard cutter was also dispatched to the scene.

Both crew members were taken to a Honolulu hospital for treatment, West said.

Hawaii News Now, an online news outlet operated by the local CBS and NBC affiliates, said one pilot, 58, was in intensive care in critical condition, while the second pilot, 50, was in serious condition with a head injury and multiple cuts.

– Water landings rare –

A source with knowledge of the incident told AFP that the plane appears to be a 737 Classic that was likely at least 33 years old.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the company is “aware of the reports out of Honolulu” and “closely monitoring the situation.”

The aviation giant said it was in contact with the NTSB and was “working to gather more information.”

Landings on water are rare. 

In January 2009, an Airbus A320 passenger jet made an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York shortly after takeoff, after flying into a flock of geese, severely damaging both engines.

The pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, believed he could not make it back to LaGuardia Airport and landed the plane in the river, with 150 passengers and five crew on board. No one was killed in the incident. 

Boeing’s safety record was called into question after the fatal crashes of two 737 MAX passenger planes in 2018 and 2019, leaving nearly 350 people dead. The plane was grounded for 20 months after the crashes. 

Investigators said a main cause of both crashes was a faulty flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

Boeing shares dipped Friday after the announcement of the Hawaii incident.

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