Man hospitalized after ultralight trike crashes in North Kona

  • Courtesy photo The ultralight trike that crashed Wednesday at Kukio.

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

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive today to investigate the incident, which was 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, a luxury development 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,” Bergin said.

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

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

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

Medics transported the pilot to North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea.

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

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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.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

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