A Wailuku pilot who is believed to have died when his plane crashed in the ocean between Maui and Molokai this month had been contacted by an air traffic controller who noticed "an erratic flight pattern" shortly before the crash, according to a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report.
The crash of the Cessna 172S operated by owner Jose Krall occurred at about 7 p.m. Dec. 1 about five miles from Kahului Airport. The Coast Guard reported finding a debris field, including a plane wheel, landing gear, life jacket and aircraft antenna in waters about two miles north of Maui.
The main wreckage wasn't located before the search was suspended Dec. 3.
The 51-year-old Krall was the pastry chef and owner of Maui Bake Shop & Deli in Wailuku. His wife, Claire Fujii-Krall, previously said she was told her husband had tried to return to Maui because of hazy conditions.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was heading to Molokai and had left Kahului Airport about six minutes before the crash. After noticing the erratic flight pattern shortly before the crash, the air traffic controller contacted the pilot, who declined assistance and said he planned to make a right 360-degree turn, according to the NTSB report filed Tuesday. Instead, "the airplane's radar track showed a left descending turn and was then lost from the radar," the air traffic controller reported.
"The FAA reported that the airplane's last known altitude was 700 feet," according to the report.
His wife said that Krall loved to fly as a hobby and would often make weekend trips to Molokai or Lanai.