Two die aboard Civil Air Patrol crash on Kaua‘i

KOKE‘E — Two men were killed Sunday when a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 172 Skyhawk crashed in the mountainous terrain about 13 miles north of Kekaha, in Kalalau Valley.

The victims were identified by Kaua‘i Police Department as Princeville resident James Degnan, 76, and Kapa‘a resident David Parker, 78. They were conducting monthly tsunami-warning practice runs for CAP.

“We extend our sincere condolences to the loved ones of James and David, and our partners over at the Civil Air Patrol, whom we work with closely,” said KPD Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce in a statement. “These individuals were seasoned pilots who were part of our Kaua‘i community, and we know they will be missed deeply.”

First responders received reports of a plane crash in the area of Koke‘e at around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday. Several witnesses reported an airplane flying low before hearing a crash, officials reported.

Personnel aboard the Kaua‘i Fire Department’s emerency helicopter located the site of the crash a few thousand feet below the Kalalau Lookout on Sunday, but suspended operations until first light on Monday due to harsh weather conditions.

The County of Kaua‘i announced the closure of the Kalalau lookout Monday and a no-fly zone for the Kalalau and Koke‘e areas early Monday morning. The Kalalau lookout has since been reopened, and the no-fly zone will be lifted at 8 a.m. today.

Officials from KPD, KFD, state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and DLNR Division of State Parks participated in the operation Monday, which located the bodies of the two men at around 10 a.m.

The NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of this terrible incident, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these pilots who were well known in our tight-knit community,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami in a statement released Monday.

“The Civil Air Patrol has always been there to help our community during disasters and emergencies. We thank our first responders for working urgently and doing everything they could to bring a sense of closure for those touched by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you all.”

This is the second deadly aircraft incident to occur on island this year.

On Feb. 22, a military-contracted helicopter crashed during a training mission at the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, killing four.

An NTSB report said that the helicopter was making a left turn when it unexpectedly stopped before pitching downward and hitting with the ground “in a near-vertical attitude.” The helicopter caught fire after the crash.


Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 647-0329 or


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