Boeing 737 freighter ditches near Hawaiian coast; crew rescued

A decades-old Boeing Co. 737 cargo jet operated by Transair made an emergency landing off the Hawaii coast, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Both pilots on Flight 810 were rescued, the FAA said Friday, citing preliminary information from the U.S. Coast Guard. The 737-200 aircraft, which was about 46 years old, experienced engine trouble and was attempting to return to Honolulu when the pilots ditched into the water.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is aware of the reports and is gathering information, spokesman Chris O’Neil said in an email. The NTSB would lead an accident investigation. Boeing shares fell 1.1% to $237.18 at 10:34 a.m. in New York.

The incident would be the second major mishap this year of an older 737, Boeing’s workhorse plane. In January, a Sriwijaya Air passenger flight crashed off the coast of Indonesia, killing all people aboard. That jet was an older model of the 737. The latest version, the 737 Max, returned to the skies late last year after a 20-month grounding caused by two deadly crashes.

Boeing didn’t immediately comment.

The Transair flight was flying to Kahului, according to flight tracker FlightRadar24. The plane took off from Honolulu at 1:33 a.m. local time and climbed to around 2,100 feet (640 meters) before circling back and descending into the sea off the coast of Oahu.

Engine failures that lead to the loss of a jet are extremely rare. The 737, like all twin-engine aircraft, is designed to fly on a single engine if one has a malfunction, and maintenance programs are designed to ensure that the same issue doesn’t occur on both engines at the same time.

Jets are designed to be able to ditch in water and float for a period of time, according to federal regulations.

Transair and Transair Express operate an all-cargo fleet of 10 planes, split evenly between Boeing 737 narrow-body jets and Bombardier Inc. SD3-60-300 aircraft. The Honolulu-based company began operations in 1982 and says it provides the longest-running all-cargo service in Hawaii. It specializes in inter-island transport between all major Hawaiian destinations, according to its website.

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