updated 10/5/2004 10:06:33 AM ET 2004-10-05T14:06:33

A 67-year-old pilot whose small plane crashed in the Pacific was spotted treading water about eight hours after his aircraft went down, and a rescue ship was on its way, Coast Guard officials said Tuesday.

Ray Clamback was spotted Monday evening by a C-130 aircraft that was dispatched from Honolulu just before noon, said Chief Petty Officer Marsha Delaney, a Coast Guard spokeswoman in Honolulu.

Clamback was able to climb into a life raft dropped by the C-130, but details of his condition or how he survived the ordeal weren’t immediately available. His plane went down about 750 miles south of Oahu.

Delaney said a container ship was on its way to the crash site to pick him up. Delaney said Clamback had not been picked up by early Tuesday and did not know when he would be rescued.

The Coast Guard planned to have the ship take Clamback to Christmas Island in the Republic of Kiribati, about 1,300 miles south of Hawaii.

Delaney said Clamback, who is from Australia, was the only person aboard the Cessna 182 that was traveling in tandem with a second Cessna aircraft from Hilo on the Big Island en route to Pago Pago, American Samoa, when the pilot made a distress call, the Coast Guard said.

Authorities said the pilot of the second aircraft saw the first plane ditch into the water but couldn’t tell whether the pilot was able to get out before it hit.

The second pilot circled the debris field until the C-130 arrived, then continued on to Christmas Island, Delaney said.

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