Pilot rescued off Honolulu, hospitalized after plane crashes during military exercise

HONOLULU – A civilian contractor pilot hired by the Hawaii Air National Guard was in serious condition Wednesday after crashing his plane during a military exercise off the coast of Honolulu, authorities said. A private sailboat rescued the unidentified 47-year-old pilot about 3 miles south of Oahu near Honolulu's Sand Island where he was then transferred … Continue reading “Pilot rescued off Honolulu, hospitalized after plane crashes during military exercise”

HONOLULU – A civilian contractor pilot hired by the Hawaii Air National Guard was in serious condition Wednesday after crashing his plane during a military exercise off the coast of Honolulu, authorities said.

A private sailboat rescued the unidentified 47-year-old pilot about 3 miles south of Oahu near Honolulu's Sand Island where he was then transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Honolulu Emergency Services spokesman Dustin Malama said the pilot appeared to have suffered traumatic injuries and was taken to a hospital.

The Hawker Hunter jet went down in the ocean around 2:25 p.m. after taking off from Honolulu's airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The Hawker Hunter is a British jet developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, according to the website of defense contractor BAE Systems.

The pilot had been participating in a military exercise called Sentry Aloha, which was being hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard and involved about 800 personnel and 30 aircraft from nine states. The exercise was temporarily suspended after the crash.

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The cause of the crash was under investigation, the military said. Departing flights from the Honolulu airport were held as a precaution for about 20 minutes, Hawaii News Now reported.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman did not release further details of the pilot's condition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

Trump critic Tulsi Gabbard is latest Dem to be ‘seriously considering’ 2020 run: reports

The list of Democrats eyeing the White House may be getting longer: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is said to be "seriously considering" a 2020 presidential bid, according to reports.

Gabbard, the first Hindu-American elected to Congress, paid a visit to New Hampshire last week, a state that has held the nation's first presidential primary every four years, the Hawaii Civil Beat reported.

“As I have throughout my life in making the different decisions that I’ve made, I am thinking about how I can best be of service to the people of this country,” Gabbard said, according to the paper.

Gabbard, who was recently re-elected to a fourth term representing the Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, said she did not have any timetable for deciding on a White House bid, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

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She was a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served two tours of duty in the Middle East.

Gabbard, 37, strongly supports the House of Representatives' "Medicare for all" bill and getting big money out of politics, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Last month, Gabbard made headlines for referring to President Trump as "Saudi Arabia's b—-," after the president argued for the importance of a strong U.S-Saudi relationship amid calls for him to take a tougher stance on the kingdom in response to the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

But Gabbard has herself faced criticism for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017 in Damascus.

Gabbard also faced criticism during her re-election campaign for shying away from debating her primary opponent, continuing a pattern that has developed since she was first elected to Congress.

Ironically, Gabbard resigned from her position with the Democratic National Committee in 2016 because she believed the party hadn't scheduled enough debates among its presidential candidates that year.

Also said to be considering a 2020 presidential run is Texas Democrat Julian Castro, former President Obama's housing chief.

Castro, 44, launched a 2020 presidential exploratory committee this week.

“Americans are ready to climb out of this darkness. We’re ready to keep our promises. And we’re not going to wait. We’re going to work,” Castro, 44, said in a video. “That’s why I’m exploring a candidacy for president of the United States in 2020.”

An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

The former San Antonio mayor said his official decision will be announced on Jan. 12. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, are also potential presidential candidates.

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Another well-funded set, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Bloomberg and Steyer, believe they can afford to wait slightly longer to announce their intentions given their fundraising prowess.

Previously mulling a 2020 presidential bid was firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti, politically famous for representing porn star Stormy Daniels.

He announced early this month that he will not run for the White House in 2020, citing family concerns for his decision.

“After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the Presidency of the United States in 2020. I do not make this decision lightly—I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run,” Avenatti said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also bowed out of the 2020 presidential contest last week, citing the "cruelty of our elections process" and the effect it would have on his loved ones.

"After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I've decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me," Patrick, 62, posted on his Facebook page.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Pearl Harbor ceremonies will go on — without 5 remaining survivors of USS Arizona

For the first time, no USS Arizona survivors are expected to attend the annual commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the pivotal Dec. 7, 1941 day of "infamy" that pulled the U.S. into World War II.

The handful of Arizona survivors — Lou Conter, Don Stratton, Ken Potts, Lonnie Cook and Lauren Bruner — are all in their 90s and now find travel to be difficult, according to Hawaii News Now.

"This is the very first year" that no Arizona crew members will participate, Daniel Martinez, a historian with the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, told the news outlet.

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Conter, 97, who lives in California, cannot attend due to health issues and doctor's orders, the report said.

“She said, 'You cannot go. You better cancel out,” Conter told the outlet.

Ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Hawaii are still expected to attract hundreds of spectators Friday morning, including veterans, service members and relatives of those who defended America that day.

The USS Arizona Memorial itself, however, remains closed for renovations. It is scheduled to reopen in March, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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As the number of Pearl Harbor survivors dwindles, Michael Wenger, a World War II author, is concerned about losing "this last living connection" to a significant event in American history, he told Hawaii News Now.

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Pearl Harbor visitor Kasey Cross shared the same concern, telling the outlet, "It makes me afraid that we're going to distance ourselves from what happened."

"It makes me afraid that we’re going to distance ourselves from what happened."

— Kasey Cross, Pearl Harbor visitor, commenting on the dwindling number of survivors of the 1941 attack

Around 300 of the USS Arizona's more than 1,100 crew members initially survived Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor — an offensive by more than 350 Japanese military aircraft that killed a total of nearly 2,400 U.S. service members throughout the base.

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But the remaining five Arizona survivors will very much be on the minds of those who attend Friday's commemoration, Martinez said.

"They'll still speak to us, just in a different way," he said, adding that about 100 World War II veterans are estimated to events.

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Meanwhile, some military members who died in the attack 77 years ago are finally being laid to rest in cemeteries across the nation.

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In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed nearly 400 sets of remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii after determining that advances in forensic science and genealogical help from families could make identifications possible. They were all aboard the USS Oklahoma, which capsized during the attack, and had been buried as unknowns after the war.

Of the 429 sailors and Marines killed on the Oklahoma that day, only 35 were identified in the years immediately after the attack. The Oklahoma's casualties were second only to those of the USS Arizona.

As of earlier this month, the agency had identified 186 sailors and Marines from the Oklahoma who were previously unidentified.

Slowly, the remains are being sent to be reburied in places like Traer, Iowa, and Ontanogan, Mich.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Elvis Presley helped raise cash for USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in the 1960s: report

What does a rock 'n' roll legend have to do with a historical Pearl Harbor memorial?

Legendary rock star Elvis Presley helped make the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor a reality in the 1960s.

Presley performed at a benefit concert that raised more than $54,000 for the memorial fund on March 25, 1961, Biography.com reported. He also made a separate donation, the report said.

Plans to create the USS Arizona Memorial took shape in the 1950s, but by 1960, less than half of the $500,000 needed was raised, the publication reported.

Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker, thought a benefit concert would provide positive publicity for the singer, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1960, according to Biography. Presley entered the Army at Memphis, Tenn., on March 24, 1958, US. Army History said.

Shortly after the concert, Hawaii's House of Representatives passed Resolution 105 to thank Presley and Parker for their services, the report said.

Presley's actions drew attention to the memorial fund, when more money from the public and private sector arrived, allowing the USS Arizona Memorial to be dedicated on May 30, 1962.

The famed rock 'n' roll musician visited the memorial for the first time in 1965 and placed a wreath at the monument, the report said.

FILE: A view of the USS Arizona Memorial that also shows the ship’s wreckage. (National Park Service)

Presley's other connections to Hawaii included the movie and song "Blue Hawaii," in 1961, and his "Aloha from Hawaii" concert on Jan. 14, 1973.

This year, the USS Arizona Memorial has been closed since May due to damage to a loading ramp, but is expected to reopen in March, the Los Angeles Times reported.

More than 900 bodies could not be recovered from the sunken ship and still remain onboard, the National Park Service said. The USS Arizona also remains submerged below the memorial.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Hawaiian monk seal with eel stuck in nose caught on camera in ‘rare’ sighting

Talk about a nosey nuisance.

A Hawaiian monk seal was spotted over the summer with an eel hanging out of its nose, according to a photo shared by the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program on Monday.

“Mondays…it might not have been a good one for you but it had to have been better than an eel in your nose,” the group, which is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), wrote.

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Experts with the organization told Hawaii News Now the eel was seen dangling from the seal’s nose near the French Frigate Shoals over the summer. Field researchers — who were in the area at the time to study the seal population there — noted the “rare” sighting and were quick to restrain the animal before removing the lengthy creature from its snout.

The removal process reportedly took less than a minute, according to the publication.

The eel likely entered the monk seal’s nose when it was feeding in coral reefs, as these sea creatures “feed by sticking their noses in coral reefs and digging in sand,” the group told Hawaii News Now, noting "it is possible the eel was defending itself or trying to escape and forced itself into the nose.”

There's also a possibility “the seal regurgitated it and it went out the wrong place. More likely the first…,” the group told the publication.

Officials with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program said they have reported on the odd phenomenon in the past, explaining it was "first noted a few years back," the group added.

"We have now found juvenile seals with eels stuck in their noses on multiple occasions. In all cases, the eel was successfully removed and the seals were fine. The eels, however, did not make it,” the organization wrote.

The picture elicited a variety of jokes and comments on social media, many users comparing the sighting to other unusual — and dangerous — trends among today’s youth, such as eating Tide Pods and snorting condoms.

“Where are these young seals learning this eel sniffing stuff from? Video games?” one person joked.

“First it was the cinnamon challenge, then tide pods, then the ice challenge, then snorting condoms, now snorting eels?” a second wrote.

“It starts with Tide Pods….” another said.

Hawaiian monk seals are “one of the most endangered seal species in the world,” according to the NOAA. While recovery efforts have slowed the declining population, the “current numbers are only about one-third of historic population levels."

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These seals, which are capable of holding their breath for 20 minutes and can dive nearly 2,000 feet, are endemic to the Hawaiian archipelago and are not found anywhere else in the world.

Habitat loss, disease and intentional killing, among other reasons, are all factors which threaten the Hawaiian monk seal species.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Dems have hard time connecting to voters because they know so much: Hirono

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, on Tuesday told a conference that she heard one of the reasons that her party has a difficult time connecting with voters is because Democrats know so much, and have a tendency of appealing to voters' minds instead of their hearts.

Hirono made the comment at a conference in Washington, D.C. She was asked by the moderator about ways Democrats could drive voter turnout.

"I wish I had the answer to that because one of the things that we, Democrats, have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts instead of [their heads]," Hirono said. "We’re really good at shoving out all the information that touch people here [pointing to her head] but not here [pointing to her heart]."

Hirono, 71, said Democrats need to stop speaking in a way that comes off as manipulative or strokes fear and resentment.

“But we have a really hard time doing that and one of the reasons– it was told to me at one of our retreats– was that we Democrats know so much, that is true. And we have kind of have to tell everyone how smart we are and so we have a tendency to be very left brain," she continued.

The left-hand side of the brain is often associated with analytical thought.

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The first-term senator gained widespread notoriety as a leading Democratic voice for the women who accused against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. She urged men to "shut up and step up" when the Senate was confirming Kavanaugh to the court.

Hawaii preschoolers served Pine-Sol instead of apple juice by mistake, officials say

A teaching assistant at a preschool in Hawaii accidentally gave children Pine-Sol cleaning fluid instead of apple juice, health officials said, adding that fortunately, nobody got sick.

Paramedics responded to the Kilohana United Methodist Church Preschool in Honolulu on Tuesday morning and evaluated three girls between the ages of 4 and 5, according to the Honolulu Emergency Services Department

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The girls didn't experience trauma or sickness, and their parents declined to transport them to the hospital.

The school, in a letter sent home to parents, called the incident "unfortunate" and noted that no children were hurt.

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"Only sips were taken before the lead teacher realized the liquid was not apple juice," the school told families. "The staff responded immediately by calling EMS and police. The children's parents were immediately notified as well."

The classroom assistant who unintentionally poured the Pine-Sol had prepared snacks of crackers and juice as the classroom teacher attended to children at the restroom, according to the inspection report. They picked up the container of yellow-brown liquid off a clean-up cart in the kitchen and poured it into cups, the report said.

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The classroom teacher smelled that the liquid poured wasn't apple juice, and stopped students from drinking it, inspectors noted. They also said the cleaning product was in its original container and was properly labeled. The cart did not have any food items on it, as all food was labeled and stored in kitchen cabinets.

Investigators with the Hawaii State Department of Health said they found no code violations during a subsequent inspection of the school.

The preschool said it would evaluate its process for obtaining snacks and refreshments to prevent any chance of this happening again. Staff will also undergo additional training.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Hawaii hospital hit with highly contagious scabies outbreak

An itchy problem is affecting a Big Island hospital in Hawaii: scabies.

The Kona Community Hospital (KCH) announced an outbreak of the skin condition on Nov. 19, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. It’s currently unclear how many people have been impacted by the scabies outbreak, which the hospital reportedly confirmed after “a number of individuals reported that they were experiencing similar symptoms."

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“We’re still in the middle of the outbreak, so it’s definitely not over yet. I don’t have totals of numbers and probably won’t until at least six [to] eight weeks out,” Lisa Downing, the director of Infection Prevention and Employee Health at KCH, told West Hawaii Today.

A person familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous told West Hawaii Today more than “50 hospital employees have been diagnosed with scabies" as of Tuesday.

The hospital declined to identify the source of the outbreak, according to the Star-Advertiser. However, the hospital said it followed proper protocols and is working alongside the Hawaii Department of Health to notify and treat any patients, visitors or staff who may have been exposed to the highly contagious skin condition.

“All staff were also notified of the situation immediately and provided with education specific to scabies infection,” KCH spokeswoman Judy Donovan told the newspaper.

Scabies is caused by the human itch mite that "burrows into the upper layer of skin" and lays eggs, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common symptoms of the condition include “intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash," according to the health agency.

“The scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies,” the CDC added, noting it spreads easily where “close body and skin contact is frequent,” like in nursing homes or prisons.

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The mites can live on a person for a month or two if left untreated, according to the health agency. It is possible to get rid of the scabies mites through scabicides, products prescribed by a doctor that will kill the mites and their eggs.

Judy Donovan was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fox News on Wednesday.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Twitter reunites long-lost cruise ship friends

Two childhood "best friends" were reunited on Saturday after one of them asked Twitter users for help finding her old pal.

"Hey twitter, I met this girl on a dinner cruise in Hawaii in 2006," Brianna Cry, 19, tweeted on Saturday, alongside a photo of the two. "We were basically bestfriends for that night so I need y'all to help me find my bestfriend cause I miss her and I need to see how she's doing now."

Her tweet, which as of Sunday night had more than 111,000 retweets and nearly 250,000 likes, somehow found its way to Heidi "Heii" Tran, 18, who tweeted back: "Heard you were looking for me." She posted a photo with her tweet that showed Heii and her family, with Heii wearing the same outfit seen in Cry's photo.

Heii told Teen Vogue that her classmates informed her of the tweet, saying she was "blown away by the response Bri had gotten. I didn't think so many people would be invested in a story like this."

Those following Cry's tweet erupted with joy on Twitter, with one user tweeting that their "heart was so happy."

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The childhood friends, according to the outlet, are equally as happy. Cry said, "We messaged each other and caught up on life."

“The moment has given me the opportunity to talk with a lot of people, and reconnect with some old friends. I’m eternally grateful for that," Heii said.

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The pair hopes to reunite in person one day, but, according to Heii, "Until then, FaceTime and social media will have to do."

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Twitter reunites long-lost cruise ship friends

Two childhood "best friends" were reunited on Saturday after one of them asked Twitter users for help finding her old pal.

"Hey twitter, I met this girl on a dinner cruise in Hawaii in 2006," Brianna Cry, 19, tweeted on Saturday, alongside a photo of the two. "We were basically bestfriends for that night so I need y'all to help me find my bestfriend cause I miss her and I need to see how she's doing now."

Her tweet, which as of Sunday night had more than 111,000 retweets and nearly 250,000 likes, somehow found its way to Heidi "Heii" Tran, 18, who tweeted back: "Heard you were looking for me." She posted a photo with her tweet that showed Heii and her family, with Heii wearing the same outfit seen in Cry's photo.

Heii told Teen Vogue that her classmates informed her of the tweet, saying she was "blown away by the response Bri had gotten. I didn't think so many people would be invested in a story like this."

Those following Cry's tweet erupted with joy on Twitter, with one user tweeting that their "heart was so happy."

TWITTER USERS PRAISE UNLIKELY RELATIONSHIPS WITH HANDSHAKE MEME

The childhood friends, according to the outlet, are equally as happy. Cry said, "We messaged each other and caught up on life."

“The moment has given me the opportunity to talk with a lot of people, and reconnect with some old friends. I’m eternally grateful for that," Heii said.

SIXTH GRADER'S HANDWRITTEN NOTE HELPS LEAD TO HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER

The pair hopes to reunite in person one day, but, according to Heii, "Until then, FaceTime and social media will have to do."

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.