By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A 68-year-old Hilo man was airlifted to Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu on Thursday after he crash-landed a small plane in an O‘okala corn field.
The pilot, who police did not identify, attempted an emergency landing of the single-engine propeller airplane after losing power.
The plane made the hard landing at about 10:30 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Hawaii Police Capt. Richard Miyamoto said the pilot was feeling a lot of pain in his “lower extremities” and couldn’t move his legs.
It was unclear if that was due to pain or paralysis, Miyamoto said.
The pilot was initially airlifted to North Hawaii Community Hospital. He was later transferred to Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition.
The plane had left Hilo International Airport earlier that morning, the FAA said. Its destination was unclear.
The corn field is owned by O‘akala Dairy, Miyamoto said. The farm is near mile marker 30 on Highway 19.
Multiple phone calls to the farm were not returned.
The 2006 Savannah ADV plane was registered to Captain Cruise Inc. located in Papaikou.
An FAA spokesman said in an email that there was no indication that the pilot issued a distress call.
Miyamoto said no one appeared to have witnessed the plane crash. A few said they saw the plane moments earlier and described it as appearing to be in trouble.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. An investigator from the FAA was en route from Oahu on Thursday afternoon.