11 Killed in Skydiving Plane Crash as Family of Those Onboard Likely Witnessed It Go Down
The twin-engine plane had six employees and three skydiving customers, all of who died when the plane crashed in Hawaii on Friday
A small skydiving plane crashed in Oahu, Hawaii, on Friday, killing all 11 passengers aboard the twin-engine aircraft, CBS News reports.
King Air employees and three skydiving customers were on board at the time of the crash, which caused the plane to burst into flames as it made contact with the ground near Dillingham Airfield.
“Update: Authorities have confirmed there were 11 people on board the plane that went down soon after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield with no survivors,” the Hawaii Department of Transportation tweeted Saturday evening.
The cause of the fatal plane crash remains unknown.
“#HDH update: With extreme sadness HDOT reports there were 9 souls on board the King Air twin engine plane that went down near Dillingham Airfield with no apparent survivors,” the Hawaii Department of Transportation initially tweeted.
Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves said family members of the skydivers onboard the plane were in the vicinity and very likely witnessed the crash as it happened.
“It is very difficult. In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident we’ve had,” Neves said during a news conference, according to the Star-Advertiser.
CBS News reported that witnesses told authorities that the plane was showing signs of mechanical problems during takeoff as it unsteadily made its way down the runway.
“I am closely following the tragic developments out of Dillingham Airfield this evening. At this time our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell tweeted early Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, witness Justin Kepa told KGMB that he “saw big smoke. We saw a big fire and firemen trying to put it out — crazy.”
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration continue to investigate the fatal plane crash. The victim’s names have yet to be released pending family notification, according to authorities.
The investigation is still ongoing.