Pilot seriously injured after jet crashes off Honolulu during military exercises

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By: Hawaii News Now
December 12, 2018

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -- A 47-year-old pilot was seriously injured Wednesday after the jet he was flying crashed off Honolulu while he was participating in the Sentry Aloha military exercises.

A military spokesman said the pilot was a civilian contractor, and was flying a British-made Hawker Hunter aircraft.

He ejected from the craft before the crash, and the Coast Guard was able to quickly pull him from the water.

The FAA said the plane went down at 2:25 p.m. three miles south of Runway 8R at Honolulu’s airport.

Witnesses fishing nearby said they saw the Hawker Hunter starting to fall shortly after takeoff.

“After the pilot ejected the plane went down in a big way,” said Brendt Chang. “The Coast Guard has been doing maneuvers here. They were doing maneuvers anyway. They were on top of the pilot within two minutes.”

Chang said there was lots of fuel in the water after the crash, but very little debris.

Mark Neumann, owner of Hawaiian Parasail, said the plane near one of his boats in the water.

Two people were in a parasail at the time, and the crash came too close for comfort, he said.

“My captain and crew thought it was going to hit the parachute,” he said. “It went by and right after it went by them, the pilot ejected and the plane crashed into the water real close to our boat.”

He said none of his crew members or customers were injured.

Paramedics said the man was in serious condition after being recovered. They described the crash as a “controlled fall," and said the man suffered unspecified traumatic injuries.

The single-seat aircraft was participating in Sentry Aloha exercises off Oahu when it got into trouble.

Rescuers, including the Coast Guard and members of the Honolulu Fire Department, remain on scene.

The Hawaii Air National Guard hosts Sentry Aloha. Some 800 people and 30 aircraft from nine states are participating.

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