Updated: September 25, 2022
The NTSB is investigating the crash Sunday of a Cessna 172 in Kōke‘e, on the island of Kauaʻi that claimed the life of two individuals aboard.
According to preliminary reports, the Cessna craft was being operated by Civil Air Patrol, and crashed in the mountains “under unknown circumstances” in the Kalalau Lookout area.
According to a preliminary investigation, the Civil Air Patrol plane was a Cessna 172 Skyhawk (N98763) conducting monthly tsunami warning practice runs, county officials said.
The County of Kauaʻi reports that a multi-agency search and recovery mission was conducted today for the overdue craft that crashed late Sunday afternoon.
Kaua‘i police confirmed that the two individuals who were on the flight, one pilot and one co-pilot, did not survive the crash. They have been identified as James Degnan, 76, of Princeville, and David Parker, 78, of Kapaʻa. The bodies of both men were recovered this morning.
“We extend our sincere condolences to the loved ones of James and David, and our partners over at the Civil Air Patrol, whom we work with closely,” said KPD’s Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce. “These individuals were seasoned pilots who were part of our Kaua‘i community, and we know they will be missed deeply.”
“We are deeply saddened by the news of this terrible incident, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these pilots who were well known in our tight-knit community,” said Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami in a County press release. “The Civil Air Patrol has always been there to help our community during disasters and emergencies. We thank our first responders for working urgently and doing everything they could to bring a sense of closure for those touched by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you all.”
Crews were dispatched to the area at around 3:15 p.m. after receiving reports of a possible aircraft crash. Witnesses reportedly said they saw the airplane flying low in the area before hearing a crash. Firefighters were able to narrow the search area between the Kalalau and the Pu‘u o Kila lookouts in Kōke‘e.
Personnel aboard a fire department helicopter located the crash site in a remote area, a few thousand feet below the Kalalau Lookout, according to County reports. Recovery efforts resumed today after dangerous weather and low visibility suspended efforts on Sunday.
The search and recovery involved the Kaua‘i Police Department, Kaua‘i Fire Department, state Department of Land and Natural Resources-Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, and DLNR Division of State Parks.