Yikes, this was a lot harder ditch/landing than I initially thought from the first reports. I thought they came in for the ditch with landing lights on so the pilot could judge the touchdown, but apparently with both engines off they had no lights (the APU can't power the landing lights?). No wonder the injuries to the pilot and co-pilot were so severe. I hope they both survive, although the one in critical condition sounds dicey...
One pilot, a 58-year-old man, was hospitalized in critical condition, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.
The second pilot, who is 50, suffered a head injury and multiple lacerations, and was hospitalized in serious condition, according to Honolulu EMS.
The U.S. Coast Guard arrived at the scene of the crash within minutes of the call to them, but roughly an hour after the crash, the agency said.
The Coast Guard said rescuers were dealing with 17 mph winds, and even with night vision goggles it was extremely dark. By the time they arrived, there was a large oil slick in the water and lots of debris around the crash site.
At that time, they saw one of the cargo plane's pilots on the tip of the downed air plane waving his hands, and the other pilot bobbing in the ocean on a cargo load.
The Coast Guard said the intention was to rescue the pilot floating on the cargo first, but within seconds the tail of the plane began to disappear so they deployed a rescue swimmer to help the pilot who had been on the tail.
"It is extraordinary that both of the pilots survived this, because it was the middle that night," said ABC News contributor and retired Marine Col. Steve Ganyard. "They were trying to ditch with no engines and no lights ... not [able] see the tops of the waves."