Transair Flight 810

Transair Flight 810
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Rescue swimmer (circled) being hoisted aboard helicopter, screenshot from Coast Guard night vision video
DateJuly 2, 2021 (2021-07-02)
SummaryDitched after engines failed; under investigation
SitePacific Ocean, 2 nautical miles (2.3 mi; 3.7 km) off the coast of Oahu
Aircraft typeBoeing 737-275C
OperatorRhoades Aviation, Inc. d/b/a Transair (Trans Executive Airlines)
IATA flight No.T4810
ICAO flight No.RDS810
Flight originDaniel K. Inouye International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
DestinationKahului Airport, Kahului, Hawaii, United States

Transair Flight 810 was a night cargo flight from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Kahului Airport on the neighboring island of Maui. Rhoades Aviation operated the Trans Executive Airlines (Transair) flight. The aircraft experienced engine trouble shortly after takeoff, could not maintain altitude, and ditched into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oahu about 11 minutes after takeoff.[1] Both pilots survived with serious injuries and were rescued at nighttime in a coordinated response involving multiple aircraft and boats. The pilots were rescued just before the wreckage sank in about 150 feet (46 m) of water, about an hour after the crash.[2]


Flight path of Transair Flight 810

On July 2, 2021, the aircraft took off from Honolulu at 1:33 a.m. HST.[3] At around 1:42 a.m., after air traffic control had cleared the flight to climb to 13,000ft, the pilots informed air traffic control that the aircraft had "lost an engine". [4] The aircraft was at less than 3,000ft when they declared the emergency.[5]

Honolulu tower air traffic control offered the crew an immediate return for landing in Honolulu. They declined the offer as they had a checklist to run, and continued to fly away from the airfield.[6] At around 1:46 a.m. the crew reported that the second engine had overheated, and they could not maintain altitude. After turning back to the airport, the aircraft continued to lose altitude, and the controller asked if they wanted to go to the closer Kalaeloa Airport instead. "We'd like the closest airport runway please," was the last transmission recorded from the aircraft.[4] The plane made an emergency landing on the water about 2 nautical miles (2.3 mi; 3.7 km) off Kalaeloa on the southern coast of Oahu.[3]

Emergency response

The United States Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department rescued both pilots. One was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter and the other by a Honolulu Fire Department Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting rescue boat.[7] Both were brought to The Queen's Medical Center.[8] One pilot, a 58-year-old man, was hospitalized in critical condition. The other, a 50-year-old man, had a head injury and multiple lacerations, and was hospitalized in serious condition.[9]

U.S. Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu watchstanders received a report from Honolulu Air Traffic Control stating the Boeing 737 had downed off shore. In response to the report, the Coast Guard issued a notice to any mariners who may be in the area, launched a Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and HC-130 Hercules airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point (co-located at the Kalaeloa Airport), sent out a 45-foot Response Boat – Medium crew, and diverted the cutter USCGC Joseph Gerczak. A watchstander was quoted in a Coast Guard press release saying, "Our crews often train closely with our counterparts in the Honolulu Fire Department for situations just like this one. That training paid off and we were able to quickly deploy response assets to the scene and recover the two people aboard the aircraft."[8]

Coast Guard night vision video showing rescue of two pilots

Around 2:30 a.m., the Coast Guard helicopter located a fuel slick and wreckage,[10] and the crew radioed to air traffic control: "we do have an aircraft in the water, we're currently overhead [the] debris field," then called a few minutes later to report, "we have zero, two souls in sight in the water." The controller responded: "OK, so you have both guys, both souls in sight?" to which they replied, "both souls in sight, yes, sir."[2]

One pilot was on the tail of the aircraft which was still floating above the surface. The other pilot was in the water floating on a bed of cargo. The helicopter crew initially planned to rescue the pilot already in the water first, but changed that plan when the tail section rapidly sank beneath the waves leaving the other pilot struggling to swim. The aircrew deployed a rescue swimmer to assist the pilot swimming who was reported to be at the point of exhaustion and unable to talk when he was hoisted aboard the helicopter.[11] The helicopter then sent the rescue swimmer to the other survivor, who was helped to the nearby Honolulu Fire Department rescue boat so that he could be recovered from the water on a spinal board.[12][13] He was lifted onboard at 2:51 a.m., and later transferred to an ambulance on shore.[7] The first survivor to be recovered was flown directly to a hospital as soon as the helicopter had recovered their rescue swimmer.[14]

At the time of the rescue, there were winds of 17 miles per hour (27 km/h) and seas up to 5 feet (1.5 m).[8]


In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said, "The pilots had reported engine trouble and were attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the aircraft in the water.... The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate."[15]

The NTSB originally announced it was sending seven investigators after the ditching, but updated that to say they were deploying a 10-investigator team to Oahu.[15] Two investigators arrived later that afternoon and began on-scene coordination.[16] Team specialties include air traffic control, systems, maintenance records, human performance, operations, powerplants & structures/wreckage recovery.[17]

"Transair has voluntarily chosen not to operate our Boeing 737 cargo aircraft temporarily while we assess the situation and continue to cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation," a Transair spokesman said in a statement the following day.[18]


The aircraft involved was from the first-generation Boeing 737-200 series, a stretched version of the original 737-100. The 737 family is the most popular jetliner ever built and has a historic accident rate that is comparable those of similar planes.[1] Boeing built 1,095 of the 737-200 type,[19] but as of 2021, fewer than 60 were still flying worldwide, according to aviation-data researcher Cirium.[2]

The first generation 737 series was powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D dual-spool, low-bypass turbofan engines, which were originally designed by Pratt & Whitney for the three-engine Boeing 727 in 1964. P&W built more than 14,000 of these engines since then, and roughly 2,400 were still in use in 2021.[1]

The airframe was built for Pacific Western Airlines, delivered on October 10, 1975, and originally registered as C-GDPW.[20] The model code for the aircraft was 737-275C Adv.[21] The 2 in the suffix denotes that it was a -200 series variant of the 737; 75 is the Boeing customer code for Pacific Western Airlines. The C in the model code designates that this aircraft was originally built as a 737-200 Combi, a specialized model of the aircraft that was designed to carry both passengers and freight on the main deck of the aircraft, separated by a movable bulkhead. Adv stands for Advanced, meaning it was a later variant that had improved capacity and range over the original -200.

The aircraft was eventually taken out of passenger service, and later converted to a full freighter. Raya Airways operated the aircraft as Transmile in and around Malaysia before the aircraft was acquired by Transair and re-registered as N810TA in 2014.[22] It was one of five Boeing 737s in Rhoades Aviation Inc's Transair fleet.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Levin, Alan; Philip, Siddharth Vikram; Johnsson, Julie; Beene, Ryan (July 2, 2021). "'Let the Coast Guard Know': Cargo Jet Ditches, Triggering Rescue". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "'It doesn't look good out here': Air traffic control communications reveal what pilots said as they crashed into Pacific Ocean". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. July 3, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Wallace, Gregory; Murphy, Paul P.; Andone, Dakin (July 2, 2021). "A Boeing 737 cargo plane makes emergency landing in the water near Honolulu". CNN. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Kaminski-Morrow, David (July 3, 2021). "Transair 737-200 crash crew believed both engines were failing". Flight Global. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  5. ^ "Transair 810 737-200 Ditching PHNL 7/2/21". Blancolirio. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  6. ^ "Audio of radio traffic between air traffic controller in Honolulu tower and Transair Flight 810". LiveATC.net. July 2, 2021. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Parkhomchuk, Mariya (July 2, 2021). "Pilots in critical, serious conditions after plane goes down near West Oahu". KHON-TV. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "Video available: Coast Guard, partners rescue 2 people from downed aircraft off Oahu". U.S. Coast Guard. July 2, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  9. ^ Shapiro, Emily; Stone, Alex (July 2, 2021). "2 pilots alive after plane crashes few miles off coast of Hawaii". ABC News. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Shepardson, David; Ajmera, Ankit (July 2, 2021). "Boeing 737 cargo plane makes emergency water landing off Hawaii". Reuters. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "WATCH: Coast Guard video shows dramatic rescue of pilots after cargo plane crash". Hawaii News Now. July 2, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  12. ^ United States Coast Guard (July 2, 2021). "Coast Guard, partners rescue 2 people from downed aircraft off Oahu". Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  13. ^ Trevithick, Joseph. "Watch Pilots Get Rescued After Their Ditched 737 Sank Off Oahu (Updated)". The War Zone. The Drive. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  14. ^ Boneza, Jenn (July 3, 2021). "Cargo plane crashes in the ocean off Honolulu, two pilots rescued". KHON-TV. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  15. ^ a b CNN, Gregory Wallace, Paul P. Murphy and Dakin Andone. "A Boeing 737 cargo plane makes emergency landing in the water near Honolulu". CNN. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "NTSB, Coast Guard investigate crash of Boeing 737 cargo plane off Oahu". Hawaii News Now. July 2, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  17. ^ @ntsb_newsroom (July 2, 2021). "Team specialties include air traffic control, systems, maintenance records, human performance, operations, powerplants & structures/wreckage recovery" (Tweet). Retrieved July 4, 2021 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ Fujimori, Leila (July 4, 2021). "Search is underway for cause of cargo plane crash off Kalaeloa". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  19. ^ "The Boeing 737: The Original vs MAX - What's The Difference?". Simple Flying. June 7, 2020. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  20. ^ "Trans Air N810TA (Boeing 737 - MSN 21116) (Ex 9M-PML C-GDPW)". www.airfleets.net. Airfleets aviation. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  21. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-275C Adv. N810TA Honolulu-Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, HI (HNL)". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  22. ^ "N810TA Rhoades Aviation Inc Boeing 737-275C, MSN 21116 | OneSpotter.com". OneSpotter.com | Plane Spotting, Photography, Aircraft Database. Retrieved July 4, 2021.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document: "Coast Guard, partners rescue 2 people from downed aircraft off Oahu, United States Coast Guard".

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