1 hospitalized after ultralight crash in North Kona

  • The ultralight trike that crashed Wednesday at Kukio is pictured. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — One man was hospitalized Wednesday after the ultralight trike he was flying off the Kona Coast lost power and crashed at Kukio.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive on the Big Island today to investigate the incident first reported at 9:56 a.m. Wednesday.

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The ultralight trike carrying two men apparently lost power at about 3,000 feet and tried to glide into a grassy field near Kukio, the luxury development located north of Kailua-Kona, according to Hawaii Fire Department West Hawaii Battalion Chief Bill Bergin.

“And, it just didn’t quite make it. Instead, it caught trees and tumbled in lava and ended up on top of a propane tank,” said Bergin, adding the tank was located near the Kukio Sports Complex within the Maniniowali neighborhood of Kukio.

Ian Gregor, communications manager with the FAA’s Pacific Division, said preliminary data indicates the aircraft lost engine power shortly before 10 a.m. in the Kukio area, about 6-7 miles north of Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.

The single-engine Air Creation Tanarg had departed from the airport not long before.

The pilot, who was identified only as a man, suffered a broken nose and facial lacerations in the crash, according to Bergin. The passenger, who was identified as a man visiting from Washington, refused medical treatment at the scene.

Medics transported the pilot to North Hawaii Community Hospital for care. No additional information on his condition was immediately available.

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Though the plane landed on a 1,100-gallon propane tank, no leaks are believed to have occurred. But out of concern for safety, Bergin said fire rescue personnel quickly shut down the tank until a gas utility could arrive and assess it, and make any repairs, if needed.

After getting clearance from the NTSB, fire rescue personnel removed the plane from the propane tank. Kukio was to secure the plane until NTSB investigators arrive today.

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