Pacific Helicopter: pilot made the safest decision to drop plane into ocean

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Jun 20 2013 09:41:00 AM HST

A Maui helicopter crew that tried to salvage a plane.. But ended up dropping it in the ocean. Now more questions of the botched attempt on Maui.

MAUI, Hawaii -

Pacific Helicopters said the pilot made the safest decision. The operations director said the outcome would have been worse if the pilot tried to land the plane back on shore. The Piper Cherokee was successfully salvaged the second time around. But, Tuesday the same salvage company, Pacific Helicopters dropped the plane into the ocean.

The plane had been involved in an emergency landing on Father's Day, and wound up resting in a field in Waiehu. The company tried to remove the plane, but said things went wrong right away because the planes wing was warped.

"The wind caught the bent wing, and it reacted in an uncontrollable manner and the pilot had to release the load," said Martin Adams, director of operations for Pacific Helicopters.

The company said there was one safe option, not an ideal one. The pilot had to cut the line and drop the plane.

"Had he chosen to bring it back to the shoreline it could have exacerbated the situation, and it could have hurt someone on the ground. So, he chose the safest option and that was to punch it off right over the surf," said Adams.

Pacific Helicopters salvaged the plane on Wednesday. The company used two divers and a helicopter.

"The divers hooked the line to the helicopter while they were in the water, and they made sure the wreckage didn't get caught on the rocks as he was coming up, and he just lifted it free and put it on the beach," said Adams.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources said there may still be some debris of the plane left in the ocean. The DLNR will work with Pacific Helicopters to clean up any plane parts that end up along the shoreline.

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