June 19, 2008

Hawaiian Tour Plane Disappears

Searchers Wednesday had no success in finding a small airplane carrying a pilot and two Japanese tourists that disappeared the day before.

The Cessna 172 took off from Kona Airport Tuesday morning for a tour of Kilauea and the Big Island but failed to return, KITV in Honolulu reported.

Tourism industry officials said the two passengers were from Japan. Sources told the TV station the pilot of the plane, operated by the Hawaii Flight Academy, had been flying in the region for the past three years and had several thousand hours of experience flying the island route.

At one point Tuesday night, the U.S. Coast Guard detected an intermittent emergency signal in the Hakalau Forest Reserve but a search there didn't turn up any sign of the plane.