Family Waited as They Flew Off for a Skydive. Then, 'Terrible Tragedy'

Twin-engine plane crashes in Oahu, all 9 on board perish
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2019 6:00 AM CDT
They Took Off for a Sunset Skydive. Then, 'Terrible Tragedy'
Remnants of an aircraft carrying nine people lies on the ground near a fence that surrounds Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia, Oahu, on Friday.   (Bruce Asato/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

A twin-engine skydiving plane took off Friday evening for a "sunset tandem" flight, but it never made it back to loved ones waiting on the ground. Per NBC News, officials say the plane—reported by Hawaii News Now to be a Beechcraft King Air 65 run by the Oahu Parachute Center—crashed near Dillingham Airfield on Oahu, Hawaii, around 6:30pm, and when firefighters converged on the scene, the remains of the aircraft were consumed in flames, Honolulu Fire Department officials say. A volunteer skydiving instructor told Hawaii News Now there'd been nine people on the plane: the pilot, five working skydivers, and three students. The Hawaii DOT and other officials say there are no apparent survivors.

"We are mourning this terrible tragedy," Hawaii DOT Director Jade Butay says, while Fire Chief Manuel Neves notes, "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 adds that family members of some of the victims were waiting for them to come back from their jump and may have seen the plane plummet from the sky. The crash is believed to be one of the deadliest civilian airplane accidents in recent Hawaii history. CNN reports that the names of the victims haven't been released. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. (More Hawaii stories.)

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