(BIVN) – A Hawaiʻi Life Flight with three crew members on board has gone missing between Maui and Hawaiʻi island, and State officials have issued an emergency proclamation in response to the situation.
On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a report of a downed aircraft in the Maui Channel. The aircraft was reported to be a Hawaiʻi Life Flight with 3 persons on board – all crew, no medical patients – that went down as it was en route to Waimea on Hawaiʻi island.
The USCG said the Honolulu Control Facility reported losing radar contact with the King Air twin engine prop plane as it was about 15 nautical miles offshore, south of Hana, Maui.
“An Emergency Proclamation was issued this morning in response to the Hawai‘i Life Flight air medical aircraft that went missing off the coast of Maui while en route to pick up a patient located on Hawai‘i island,” wrote Governor Josh Green and State health Director Elizabeth Char in a media statement. “Hawai‘i’s medical airlift capacity must be supplemented. The Emergency Proclamation gives our state the ability to supplement Hawai‘i’s medical airlift capacity with aircraft and flight crews from other states and permits out-of-state actively licensed and certified emergency medical personnel to be employed as certified flight paramedics and registered nurses on medical transport aircrafts.”
Gov. Green said his administration is coordinating efforts between Hawai‘i Life Flight, the State Department of Health, the Army National Guard, all county Mayors, the Coast Guard, and medical facilities and personnel throughout the state and on the mainland, “to ensure continuity and uninterrupted emergency transport services between the islands. The primary focus is augmenting services to the neighbor islands and deploying extra capacity for critical care needs.”
“Our hearts are with the families of the crewmembers aboard the Hawaiʻi Life Flight plane that went off-radar last night while in transit to pick up a patient from our hospital in Waimea,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth in a written statement. “The service they provide to our community is truly invaluable, and we mahalo all who risk their lives daily to save the lives of others.”
“Our administration remains hopeful in the Coast Guard’s search and eagerly awaits any sign of good news,” Mayor Roth continued. “Until then, we’ll continue constant communication with Governor Green and his team as we prepare to do whatever it takes to ensure the continuance of vital healthcare transportation services between islands — especially as regular Hawaiʻi Life Flight services are paused.”
“That said, we’re urging our residents to be extra cautious over the coming week to help us keep medical transport needs on Hawaiʻi Island to a bare minimum,” Roth said. “Our medical providers are working together to help pool resources so that we can keep as many of our patients on-island as possible. The coming days will be a strain on normal day-to-day operations, but we want the community to know that the County, State, and local medical providers are working together to find solutions that ensure adequate care for all of our residents. With that, we ask our community to join us in hoping for the best as the search continues for the aircraft and its crew.”