The cause of the airplane crash that left Hawaii’s Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy dead may have been catastrophic engine failure, according to multiple news reports

From the Associated Press

Owner Richard Schuman of Makani Kai Air said the pilot did his best to get the single-engine plane down safely and keep the passengers together in the waters off Molokai. Schuman said the pilot told him the engine had failed.

Asked how they survived, he responded: “Will.”

“Getting out of the aircraft was important,” he said. “It was, extremely, a team effort on many people to take care of them.”

The pilot of the 2002 Cessna Grand Caravan was physically OK, said Schuman, who declined to release his name. Little information was available on the conditions of the other passengers.

The National Transportation Safety Board has opened up an investigation into the crash and a preliminary report is expected to be released in 10 to 14 days. 

The aircraft is likely unrecoverable, but that shouldn’t hamper the investigation, NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss told Civil Beat.

A local NTSB investigator will be looking at radar and weather data and interviewing witnesses. 

“We look at everything by the time the investigation is over,” said Weiss. “We will have opened every door and closed every door.”

Sophie Cocke