Search continues for missing Hawaiian air ambulance
Emergency services in Hawaii are searching for a fixed-wing air ambulance that went off-radar while en route between Maui and Waimea Big Island on 15 December
The aircraft, a Beechcraft King Air C90A operated by Global Medical Response (GMR) on behalf of Hawaii Life Flight, went missing at around 21:27 hrs local time while en route between Maui and Waimea Big Island. GMR confirmed that the plane had three team members onboard at the time and no patient.
Colleagues have identified one of the three crew members as medical flight nurse Courtney Parry.
GMR continued: “We are in an active search and rescue with the Coast Guard. We are notifying family members now, and ask that you not share any names until we can reach their families.
“We are doing everything we can to bring our team members home, and will provide an update as soon as we have details. We are asking everybody to please pray that we find them safely,” they added.
The pilot of the aircraft reported problems with some of the navigation equipment, prior to its disappearance, while flying at approximately 5,000 feet off the coast of Maui.
Additional air medical providers have been called in
In response to the incident, GMR confirmed that it has placed ‘all Hawaii Life Flight aircraft and crews on a safety stand-down, so that precautionary maintenance checks can be performed on all similar aircraft, and so that all crew members can focus on their mental well-being during this difficult time’. However, it added that: “As part of the Global Medical Response family, Hawaii Life Flight has been and will continue to receive operational support from its sister companies, including the GMR medical helicopter based in Maui.”
To supplement medical transport services in the state in light of both the search and rescue effort and the GMR safety stand-down, Hawaiian Governor Josh Green signed an emergency proclamation, which enables additional air medical teams to be placed into service from providers such as AirMed International and REACH Air Medical Services. GMR said the proclamation is intended to ‘ensure Hawaiian communities and patients have necessary medical transport services’.
GMR also confirmed that it has partnered with Emergency AirLift, based in Klamath Falls, Oregon, to ‘augment air medical support to serve the communities of Hawaii during this time’. These teams will provide inter-island and long-distance air medical transport services while search and rescue efforts continue for the missing Hawaii Life Flight crew and aircraft.
Maui was named as a destination suffering from 'overtourism' by Fodor earlier this year.