Cause of summer plane mishap in Maui undetermined

Published On: Dec 21 2013 12:41:20 PM HST
Updated On: Dec 21 2013 06:02:24 PM HST

WAIEHU, Hawaii -

Federal investigators said they can't figure out why a small single-engine plane lost power over Maui last summer.

On June 16, the pilot of the Piper P-A 28-181 made a forced landing into bushes and trees near the shoreline in Waiehu after engine trouble caused the plane to lose altitude.

None of the four people on board was hurt.

In a report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board on Dec. 12, the pilot said he noticed a slight hesitation in the engine at 1,500 feet while flying into Kahului Airport from Honolulu.

He switched fuel tanks but noticed a similar problem a few minutes later. That's when he decided to put the plane down.

The NTSB report quotes an insurance company as saying that during a salvage operation a few days later that a chopper pilot was forced to drop the plane into the ocean when the wreckage started spinning as it hung below the chopper.

When the engine was recovered,  later damage caused by salt water and other elements made it difficult for investigators to determine why the plane lost power in the first place, according to the report.

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