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Pilot safe after ditching off Hawaii

October 11, 2011, 06:58 pm

According to the Monterey County Herald, Charles Mellor, a pilot who was recently forced to ditch his plane after it ran out of fuel off the coast of Hawaii, was on his way to sell the aircraft at a brokerage on the island.

Mellor radioed for help about 500 miles off the coast of Hawaii, saying that he was running low on fuel. The Federal Aviation Administration did not say what may have contributed to the fuel problem, though several pilots and officials told the source that a number of factors can affect fuel efficiency, including flying at a low altitude. Mellor reportedly maintained an altitude of about 6,000 feet, low enough to negatively affect fuel mileage, for much of the flight to avoid bad weather.

The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched an airplane, rescue helicopter and ship to aid the distressed airman, who successfully ditched the plane and was rescued. Mellor was treated and released from a local hospital. Coast guard officials said that first responders were able to communicate with Mellor, and talked him through the operation.

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