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Police ID bodies in ultralight crash

Transportation Safety Board to inspect the aircraft today

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Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 11:30 pm

HONOPU — Kaua‘i police on Wednesday identified the victims of the ultralight crash this week on the North Shore as the chief pilot and owner of Kaua‘i Aerosports and his passenger.

The pilot, Steve Sprague, 48, of Kalaheo and his passenger, 53-year-old Ray Foreman of Vista, Calif., died Tuesday morning when the light sport aircraft Sprague was flying plummeted into waters off Honopu Beach.

The U.S. Coast Guard notified police dispatch of the crash at approximately 10:53 a.m.

“We are all saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the families of the victims,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “We are grateful to those who assisted in the recovery of the victims and will stand ready to assist investigators as they determine the cause of the terrible accident.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

Jim Struhsaker, the senior air safety investigator for NTSB, said he went on a boat with a team of seven to recover the aircraft Wednesday. A local helicopter company assisted. The light sport aircraft, known as a P&M “Quik,” has been stationed in a hangar at the Lihu‘e Airport.

Struhsaker said he spent the day interviewing witnesses. He plans to inspect the aircraft today.

“It’s pretty badly broken up after crashing into the ocean,” he said.

Passengers of a tour boat, along with several people on the beach, witnessed the crash occur some 100 yards off shore and brought the victims, both unresponsive, on board. Witness Brad Pryor said he heard the plane make two popping sounds shortly before it hit the water.

Ocean Safety lifeguards first arrived on scene on jet ski at about noon. Fire rescuers aboard Zodiac 1 arrived at the boat about 12:39 p.m. to recover the bodies.

According to a Yelp.com review, written by Sprague, Kaua‘i Aerosports was formed in 2009 by himself and his wife, Anna.

“Although originally brought to the Island of Kauai by a job offer from another flight company, they were simply not satisfied with the safety level nor the ethics of the current businesses already present,” Sprague wrote. “After attempting to work for both the other companies to no avail, the decision was made to return to owning and operating their own.”

An attempt to reach Kaua‘i Aerosports for comment was unsuccessful.

The NTSB is also investigating the death of another owner of a powered hang glider business on island. Jim Gaither of Big Sky Kaua‘i crashed a light sport aircraft off Glass Beach on Feb. 15. His passenger was also killed in the crash.

• Jessica Musicar, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by e-mailing jmusicar@thegardenisland.com.

© 2015 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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9 comments:

  • upnup posted at 7:22 am on Sun, May 22, 2011.

    upnup Posts: 130

    Anyone to takes to the skies in one of these ultralights would be naive to think that they are not risking their lives. The print in the waiver probably mentions these risks but it's unfortunate for those to decide to risk it and not make it back. As far the the experience, it must be exhilarating. I would have loved to try it, but only in my younger, no real responsibility years.

     
  • rak0729 posted at 11:38 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    rak0729 Posts: 881

    Rich Peoples TOYS??
    Looks Built like locals pocketbook size affordable?

     
  • waniniboy posted at 10:59 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    waniniboy Posts: 151

    Donrow you prolly WORK for a helicopter company. Yes it is Blue and Inter-Island and you mis-read the part about Kilauea. I was referencing them complaining about the ampatheatre when it's actually much noisier sitting on the beach in Haena than attending a concert. Maybe you should adjust your Bose headsets.

     
  • donrow posted at 9:52 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    donrow Posts: 43

    Oh the pilot's care. If anything there ticket is on the line every time they go out and fly. The biggest laugh of all, the headsets have nothing to do with how they fly. Oh god I couldn't stop laughing at that comment BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! stop it your killing me. Oh and by the way I know for a "fact" that no helicopter company fly's close to Kilauea, only Sunshine because they take off out of Princeville so don't make false accusation besides there nothing to see in Kilauea from the air, it's best on the ground. Now go back under your rock that you crawled out from and get your facts straight. "Bose headsets".... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Deepest condolences to the families God Bless.

     
  • donrow posted at 9:40 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    donrow Posts: 43

    [quote]waniniboy said: "I'll just take this opportunity to state that all of the helicopters, planes and ultralights represent a massive degree of noise pollution for Haena and Na Pali. Funny how the people in Kilauea are concerned about decibels when every day there is a stream of ultra-noisy helicopters shattering the peace in sacred areas. Try hiking to Hanakapiai and see for yourself. The companies say they are contributing to the economy, but not much. Haena sees 8,000 to 10,000 people daily and they all must endure super-loud noise for the benefit of about 100 paying helicopter guests. Worst offenders: Inter-Island, Blue Hawaiian, Island helicopters. The pilots don't care because they are getting paid and wearing Bose headphones."[/quote]

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH, Geez, I knew it wasn't going to take long for one of you guys to come out of the wood works, your right some helicopter company's have been breaking rules but it's not Blue or Inter-Island, Island, yeah.

     
  • WestSideTrades posted at 8:41 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    WestSideTrades Posts: 142

    Brad Pryor, I read about your bravery in yesterday's TGI story. You are amazing. The courage you found in the face of such a tragic situation, and the beyond belief efforts you went to are humbling.

    To all the others who helped the victims, thank you as well.

    Deepest condolences to the families.

     
  • waniniboy posted at 8:19 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    waniniboy Posts: 151

    I'll just take this opportunity to state that all of the helicopters, planes and ultralights represent a massive degree of noise pollution for Haena and Na Pali. Funny how the people in Kilauea are concerned about decibels when every day there is a stream of ultra-noisy helicopters shattering the peace in sacred areas. Try hiking to Hanakapiai and see for yourself. The companies say they are contributing to the economy, but not much. Haena sees 8,000 to 10,000 people daily and they all must endure super-loud noise for the benefit of about 100 paying helicopter guests. Worst offenders: Inter-Island, Blue Hawaiian, Island helicopters. The pilots don't care because they are getting paid and wearing Bose headphones.

     
  • JaggerL posted at 7:49 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    JaggerL Posts: 27

    I have read where helicopter pilots have to be very well trained in wind shears, weather, and more difficult manuverings in order to successfully to fly in the Hawaiian islands. I can't help but wonder if possibly ultralights just don't have the control capabilities to take into consideration these variables~ especially when flying so low. RIP.

     
  • Esatiene posted at 7:04 am on Thu, May 19, 2011.

    Esatiene Posts: 446

    5 ultra lights on Kauai and now only 2 left after as many accidents and bad injuries and deaths. Like toys they are, for rich people, maybe they should come with warnings for the unsuspecting visitor.

     

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