A Closer Look at Lang’s Photos

Re-UPDATE: Nope, the shadow on the roof doesn’t work in real life, as far as I can tell, based on experiments I did with a model door cut to match the dimensions on the computer image of the door from the Puentes image. More on that at https://butterdezillion.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/skip/

So it very much appears that Lang’s images of the plane are photoshopped.

The KHON2 News image  of a bent propeller and damaged cowling around the engine appears to be from a different plane. See https://butterdezillion.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/private/

And from the Google earth and bing images of Queens Hospital, there is question (still being sorted out) as to the genuineness of one news image claiming to be the USCG helicopter dropping off Kalaupapa victims directly on the Queens landing pad (Honolulu EMS said they picked up 2 in stable condition from the Honolulu airport; USCG told the media that they transported one directly to Queens). The link copying is a bit different so I hope I don’t mess this up too badly but I think the posts with the images and analysis start with Mikeultra’s post at http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread999641/pg19#pid17638877  and the next few posts after that, and combatmaster’s post at http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread999641/pg20#pid17647254 and the posts after that.


UPDATE: Scrutiny has served its purpose; the shadow of the open door on the roof of the plane shows that the door was upright to the extent that it only appears as a dark line. So there is a back window on this plane.  I was mistaken, and I appreciate those who pointed out the mistake. Especially those who did so in a classy way. =)

I still do not believe this is the same plane for several reasons. Let me repost the contrast-added close-up of Lang’s image, with annotations for comparative purposes:

Lang closeup w contrast annotated

Now let me post some annotated Puentes images (you’ll probably have to click on these to see very clearly) The front bump I have circled is a little fuzzy and may be something from the left wing but the other 2 are clear:

black shirt with MW1 annotated plane profile

Here’s an annotated version of Lang’s close-up showing the placement of the windows on that plane, based on the distances on the above image. When I created these jpegs to post I sized them so that the size of the windows on the Lang plane matched the size of the windows on the Puentes plane, for comparative purposes. That’s how it was on my computer when I looked; I’m not sure what size images show up when stuff gets posted. I lined up a ruler with the right sides of the windows so I could see where the bumps fall relative to the windows. Then I put an index card right below the two bumps and marked where each one began and ended. I made marks on the below image showing the length and placement of the bumps. The bump on the Lang image appears to be too large and placed wrongly. If the perspective makes that big a difference in size, then the perspective would also throw off the window sizes and 2 windows would likely not fit in the space between the wing and the door. And if my placement is off on the big bump and it really began where it does on Lang’s image then the front bump would be moved out of the shadow of the open door and should show up on the image.

Lang Photo analyzed

I posted some of the anomalies on Free Republic:

The bump on top isn’t square with the rest of the plane, its shadow is at a different angle than either the open door or the registration letters (so we’ve got at least 3 different shadow angles that I can see), and it is in the wrong place for how the 2 bumps are supposed to fall. So it’s not even just a matter of the 2nd bump not showing – not only does the 2nd bump not show, the bump that does show is in the wrong place.

The bump where the tail attaches is not centered.

The “turbulence” spills over onto parts of the plane that aren’t supposed to be in the water: on the plane’s left side where the tail attaches, there is what is supposed to be shadow but as it approaches the horizontal part of the tail (which is supposed to be sticking up out of the water) the shadow gradually evolves into “turbulence like somebody C&P’ed a patch of “turbulence” there and wasn’t sure when to have the shadow end and the “turbulence” begin. On the plane’s right tailpiece, where the cylindrical shape at the end is (strobe light?), the “turbulence” creeps into the cylindrical shape there.

There is a very square patch of turbulence that aligns with the dark strip on the vertical part of the tailpiece, even though there would be nothing there to cause that turbulence. I printed this photo out so I could do some measuring and it immediately leaped out at me how square the “turbulence” is there.

On the left side of the fuselage, to the aft of the wing, there is a rounded lip as if to make a contour around the window frame, but on Puentes’ photos it is perfectly smooth – no lip at all. And a rounded line in the equivalent place on the right side is also there.

The cabin of the plane just disappears suddenly after the wings which are clear as can be. There’s a blur after a bit but if you trace the body of the plane there is a place where there is the very clear wing, followed by nothing, followed by haze that is supposed to be the submerged nose. There’s not a gradual fading of the clarity because of the water’s depth; there is a sudden spot where there’s nothing.

The 3 black dots between the window and the door are odd, and the front one of those actually falls where the frame of the window should be.

There is shadow on the sun side of where the tailpiece attaches to the body of the plane, on the plane’s right side. The only thing that could possibly make that shadow is the plane’s right side of the horizontal tailpiece but in order for that to make that shadow the sun would have to be lower on the horizon than that horizontal tailpiece – a very difficult thing to do given that the “turbulence” reaches into the end piece of that horizontal tailpiece. And according to the NTSB the plane sank after 25 minutes, so before 4pm. The Puentes video shows a sun high in the sky rather than low on the horizon.


It’s harder to see with the granularity of the computer image, but when I printed out the image it was really easy to see how the “turbulence” sneaks into the plane’s right tailpiece (shows on our left). I don’t know how to make the image bigger in WordPress. You’ll probably have to click on the image to see it enlarged. Or just look closely at the original Lang photo enlarged (click on the photo of it on this post). Look very, very closely at the turbulence – in all areas – on this image (click to enlarge, I think):

turbulence 2

static wicks

Some have said they believe that Lang’s image shows a tail number with MA at the end. If you measure in the below photo you find that the letters are almost exactly as tall as the aft side of the back window, whereas the shadow in that area of the Lang photo is about half as tall as that end of the aft window. So if there were letters there that belonged to N687MA, the letters would have to be half in the shadow and half above the shadow.

letters as tall as trailing height of back window

A Freeper was kind enough to post an aerial view of the airport and shoreline where the crash took place. (Thanks, Ray76!) I’ve annotated some images so you can see that – in spite of the difference in perspective – yes, one of Lang’s photos is of the area where the crash occurred:

Kalaupapa shoreline annotated lighthouseLang photo annotated

I spent some time analyzing the images because most of the time it seems that the plane’s wings were perpendicular to the shore, not parallel as shown in Lang’s images. But there were a few of Puentes’ images that contradicted the rest. Some images of him on the wing showed the lighthouse far off to the side of the wing, and some showed the lighthouse showing right over the top of the wing. The only way I can reconcile those images is if the plane itself was rotating in the water. So there are just too many variables to be able to say anything with certainty regarding the position of the plane itself.

That being said, there is one image of Lang’s that I cannot reconcile with his other images. The Kalaupapa Airport has been upgraded over the years to lengthen the runway and to deal with the erosion that was jeopardizing the integrity of the runway. Eventually rocks were added to try to prevent erosion. The dark border around the shoreline is where the rocks were added to reinforce the shoreline. Inside that border there are some sandy patches. There is the runway and the airport,  and after that there is grass. At least that’s how it looks to me. And you see that Lang’s image has the plane down in the water between points B and C.

Well, here is the image that I can’t reconcile with all that:


Lang image grassy area

It’s taken at a distance similar to his other photo (based on the size of the plane) so the land features should be similar in size, but I do not see how that could be the same place as he had the plane in the other photo.  There’s a very thin line of rocks and then grass. No sandy area, no runway.

UPDATE: A freeper has reconciled the images. The airport and runway are there, at the far left in the image. You just have to zoom in a lot to see them. His analysis shows that the plane in these images drifted between the time the images were taken. So that question is answered.

So. These are some of the things that don’t smell right. There are also discrepancies with Puentes’ and Lang’s accounts – such as Jacob Key pointing at what is claimed to be Lang’s plane while Jacob was still sitting on the wing but Puentes in his narrative describes Lang’s plane as appearing about 10 minutes after the landing when Puentes had already drifted so far away from the plane that the plane can’t even be discerned as a plane in the selfie he took withthe plane behind him. He said that was the drifting after 3 minutes.

And there is the problem of the navy plane that DOH’s Kalaupapa administrator, Mark Miller, claimed was doing touch-and-goes in the area – that is claimed to have put down smoke flares to show rescuers where the victims were.  Lang said he left the area when a navy helicopter arrived at around 4:30, and there is a later image of one being there, but helicopters don’t do touch-and-goes.  Miller could have mistaken Lang’s continuous swooping close to the water for touch-and-goes.  If so, it is odd that Puentes’ video didn’t catch any of that activity going on around them. The video is very, very highly edited, and if a plane continuously swooping low enough to be mistaken for touch-and-goes didn’t appear on the video it makes a person wonder what else might not have made it onto that video – especially given that extra things/people are showing up in the water in the video footage we are able to see.

And a person wonders why a navy helicopter had come there. The USCG was already sending 2 helicopters, a plane, a cutter, and a boat. One of the USCG personnel told the media that the hardest part of the rescue was keeping the rescuers from hitting each other, with at least 6 planes in the air at a time during the rescue. Maui County Fire Dept had one helicopter that rescued 5 people.  USCG had 2 helicopters that pulled 3 out of the water: the 73-year-old woman, Kawasaki,  the 70-yr-old man, and Fuddy ….(according to the media reports) (Yes, I know that’s 4…) USCG also had a bigger plane that wasn’t involved in rescuing anybody but we’ll count them anyway. We know there was a navy helicopter that also didn’t rescue anybody, according to the numbers given by the NTSB and MCFD.  Lang said he was already gone by then. So we’ve got 3 helicopters doing rescue, one helicopter not doing rescue, and one plane not doing rescue. What other planes were there, to get to “at least 6”?

The discrepancies, together with what is showing up in the water, raise serious questions.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>BEGINNING OF ORIGINAL POST>>>>>>>>>>

Josh Lang provided photos to the media that he said he took when he saw the Cessna in the water off Kalaupapa on Dec 11, 2013. His photos can be seen at  http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/slideshow?widgetid=99139  Here are a couple of the photos he posted:

I got to thinking how there aren’t any life jackets showing in the water anywhere. I wondered how these could be the same plane – especially since in the “Nightline” clip Jacob Key was sitting on the wing pointing to all the other passengers at Lang’s plane coming in the distance. Yet in Lang’s photos nobody is to be seen anywhere for quite some distance.

So I looked a little closer at Lang’s last, closer photo of the plane:

Lang photo closer no window behind door

And then I compared it to the images from the ABC video:

18 cushion thrown

Here’s a larger photo so you can look closely but you’ll have to right-click on it to see the whole thing, I bet:

Lang photo closer no window bigger

The Cessna that crashed with Fuddy on board had a window between the door and the tail. Lang’s photo doesn’t have a window. It appears that Lang provided photos of a different plane and claimed it was of this plane. No wonder Puentes’ video didn’t match Lang’s photos!

Why would Josh Lang do that?


  1. Tommy
    Posted February 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m not a Cessna expert so maybe someone who is can comment – look at the Lang photo it shows a door that opens sideways. The bottom photo shows a door that opens upwards. Does the door open both ways? Optical illusion?

    • Posted February 23, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That’s how it appears to me too, Tommy.

    • Demo
      Posted February 24, 2014 at 2:13 am | Permalink | Reply

      The Cessna Caravan right main entrance door consist of two pieces, the top portion witch opens upward and the bottom portion which is the steps that falls downward, which is the picture from the video. Also if you notice on the video picture, the tail number is cover by sun shadow, if you follow the shadow line up in the air you can tell in what position is the sun in reference with the horizon and so the time of this event. Now the picture from Josh Lang, the same tail number shadow exist, but is not the same door. Caravan rear door left and right side, top portions opens upward, only the left side bottom portion of the door will open to the side and if you are facing this door from the inside, the door hinges are to your right which means this bottom portion of the door will swing from left to right. Now on Josh Lang picture is a fake picture, Caravan does not have this door. No manufacture aircraft will build a door that when open inflight the relative wind will ripoff the door because the hinge’s doors are in the wrong side. Also if you notice this door has a shadow that indicates the sun at a lower angle above the horizon, while the shadow from the tail section covering the tail number is at a different angle and this is impossible.

  2. Posted February 24, 2014 at 12:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    The door itself has a window it it, so there is no window behind it. The vertical upswinging door section also has a window which no doubt rests over the sliding door’s window. From the aerial view that door can’t be seen because the angle makes only its bottom edge possibly visible since the door is at a perfect 90% angle to the camera, but you can see its shadow across the top of the plane, including a lighter area that results from the window.

  3. The Truth
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 2:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    After studying Lang’s photo for awhile, I noticed the shadow of the door that opens up on top of the plane. There is just an optical illusion that makes it look like the back window is a door that opens sideways. We are just looking at the side of the upwards opening door, nothing more.
    As to where the people are, that’s the real question.

  4. The Truth
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 2:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Why would you leave the door open after everyone was evacuated? Wouldn’t it be common sense to close it in order to lock the air inside, keeping it afloat longer?

  5. Cousteaus's ghost
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    How would you propose closing a door against the weight of the water? You know when a car is underwater you can’t open the doors right? Same thing for closing airplane doors underwater. Why waste energy on a futile enterprise – a bit like BZ Here!

  6. Tommy
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve read the Freerepublic discussion on this saying the door is up and window is blocked from view. I can conceptually understand that with the plane being more submerged in the Lang photo, but I am still having a hard time seeing the window between door and tail even though I’m looking for just this scenario (open door blocking window). I’ve rotated and zoom’ed the image myself and just can’t seem to spot it at this anle.

  7. Tommy
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    @The Truth – good point on the shadow clearly showing that has to be a door that opens upwards. That makes more sense.

    The windows in Lang photo are more submerged than the news footage, so the people probably were already rescued or floated away?

    • Posted February 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Actually if you look at the 2 windows between the wing and the door, in Lang’s photo you can still see the top of the window frames but in the photos where Fuddy and Yamamoto are by the mostly-underwater door, you can’t see any part of those windows. If you compare the back windows, in the Lang photo you can still see the bottom part of the frame but in the Puentes photo the bottom of the back window is already in the water.

      In the Puentes photo of Jacob Key pointing at the sky where it’s said that Lang’s plane is coming, the wing is on the water with water beginning to splash over the top.

      Lang’s photo had to be first. The progression of the plane submerging went in a specific order, and I don’t see a way for those 2 windows to come up out of the water once they were already fully submerged, as shown in Puentes’ video. And that whole time, Puentes’ video shows people in the area. Lang’s photos, from all different distances, show NOBODY in the water anywhere.

  8. The Truth
    Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    why would you waste energy on a futile enterprise? That’s easy. You try to close the door and trap the remaining air inside the plane in order to keep it afloat. That way you can sit on top of it until you are rescued. Beats the hell out of bobbing helplessly in the water while the pilots face bleeds, attracting sharks.
    As far as opening a door in water, as well as closing it, it is possible. While I do concede it may have been difficult to pick the bottom door up, it would have been well worth it if fins would have started appearing around them.

  9. David
    Posted February 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I see the back window and the door to the right of it is sticking up so you are looking at it on edge. It’s hard to see but look at its shadow on the roof of the plane. The shadow has a bright spot where the window is letting the light through. Thanks for paying attention and sharing your insight with us ButterD.

    • Posted February 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes. I was wrong about there not being a back window. The shadow cast by the door is visible on the roof of the plane. Strange, though, that the 2 antennas and at least one extra bump about the size of the bigger bump on the roof don’t show up on the plane Lang photographed.

      I’ve been trying to reconcile different images and there’s a lot that doesn’t add up unless the plane was actually rotating in the water, which I’m told would be possible because of the effect of the tail. Some things still don’t make sense with Lang’s photos no matter how things may have twisted around over the course of the day. I’ll add some images here shortly so I can explain what I mean.

  10. Posted February 25, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The escape door on the lang picture appears to open from front to back …while the one in Puentes ‘s photo seem to break in the middle with the top going up and the bottom going down…

  11. May
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 12:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    Send this info to Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse(Mike Zullo)

  12. Posted February 26, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Easily explained, the rescue is over, a pilot is taking pictures of the abandoned planes, and the wake behind the wing is caused by the plane starting to sink and the plane is moving forward to sink under the water as the engine pulls the plane down and forward.

    Explains no people, what looks like door to rear of plane is caused by viewing the top of the upper door, making it look like the top of a swinging door.

    Obviously Lang was not taking pictures of the plane as the people hit the water.

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