Two teenage girls learning to fly were seriously injured when the small single-engine plane they were in crashed in brush just off Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia.
Police said the local student pilots were flying with flight instructor Victor Ponfiglio when the 1969 Piper PA-28-140 crash-landed in property adjacent to the airfield.
One girl hit her head and the back-seat passenger sustained some scrapes and they were taken to The Queen’s Medical Center, police said. The pilot received minor injuries and declined treatment.
The plane with tail number N98146, which appears totaled, is owned by Alana Aviation, police said.
The crash occurred at about 5:10 p.m. when the pilot was practicing “touch-and-goes,” Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said in an email.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, he said.
Ponfiglio declined comment initially, but said he would check with the flight school to see whether he could comment on what happened.
Sonny Vaoifi, 45, works for the owner of the adjoining property, where the plane ended up, and witnessed the crash.
“It was coming down the runway and was taking off. It had engine trouble and ended up right there,” he said, pointing to the small plane.
“It started to sputter, and had no power at all,” he said.
Rather than continue to ascend, it turned right, made it over a chainlink fence and crashed into a plastic barrier, dragging it several feet and ending up in some brush.
Vaoifi said he rushed over. “I made sure they’re OK,” he said.
He found an older gentleman, the pilot, in his 60s, and two high-school-age girls.
They were “visually shaken, with cuts and bruises, but they walked away,” he said.
Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright said paramedics treated two 17-year-old girls and took them to a hospital in serious condition.
Star-Advertiser reporter Rob Shikina contributed to this report.