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5 dead after sky-diving plane crashes on Kauai

  • COURTESY J. CABATAN

  • COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT

    A sky-diving plane crashed in Port Allen field on Kauai today, killing 4 passengers and 1 pilot.

  • COURTESY KAUAI FIRE DEPARTMENT

    A sky-diving plane crashed in Port Allen field on Kauai today, killing 4 passengers and 1 pilot.

  • ROSEMARIE BERNARDO / RBERNARDO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A sky-diving plane crashed in Port Allen field on Kauai today, killing 4 passengers and 1 pilot.

  • JESSE CASTRO / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Investigators inspected the wreckage from a sky-diving plane crash near the Port Allen Airport today on Kauai.

Five people died after a sky-diving airplane crashed and burned while taking off from the Port Allen Airport, also known as Burns Field, in Hanapepe, this morning.

Kauai County officials said the “fiery plane crash” occurred at about 9:30 a.m. Four people were pronounced dead at the scene and one man was transported to Wilcox Hospital, where he died, a county official said.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said a single-engine Cessna 182H crashed while taking off at the Port Allen Airport at about 9:30 a.m. The plane caught fire after crashing, Gregor said.

The Cessna 182H can hold four passengers and a pilot. The plane was registered to Skydive Kauai, according to Kauai Fire Department officials.

The passengers were part of a sky-diving tour. The pilot, two sky-diving instructors and two tandem jumpers were believed to be in the plane at the time of the crash, Kauai Fire Department officials said.

The plane is registered to a Koloa company called D & J Air Adventures. The company’s registered agent David Timko said Monday he didn’t have any comment because the crash is under investigation. But he says he offers his condolences to the families of those killed, according to the Associated Press.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA will be investigating the crash, officials said. Autopsies on the five victims will be conducted this week, according to county officials.

County officials said fire rescue crews and police were sent to the scene. The crash ignited a small brush fire in the immediate area, which was extinguished by 10:30 a.m. Officials asked the public to stay away from the area.

Volunteers from the Kauai Red Cross, Salvation Army and Life’s Bridges, a grief counseling service, responded to the scene.

According to a state website, Port Allen Airport is used for helicopter tours, ultralight aircraft traffic and sky diving, and is restricted to aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds.

The Kauai crash was the first of two plane accidents in Hawaii today; later this morning, a small plane with two people on board crashed in the waters off Makaha. No major injuries were reported in that crash.

———

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as a single-engine home-built Vans RV6. An FAA spokesman later said that this initial information was incorrect.
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  • Yep. Probably tourists who came here to enjoy and end up this way. These tourist’s activities, especially ocean ones, need to be regulated. There are too many companies that care only about making money and safety takes a back seat. My prayers and condolences to the family of all involved.

  • Something is wrong with this story. RV-6 is a 2 seat plane. How was it carrying 5 people? If so, they were on the wings and it was overloaded. Also, homebuilt are generally not approved for commercial operations. ???

  • The Cessna 182 is a four-place light aircraft with engine power in the 230 hp range making it more powerful and with a slightly higher useful load (fuel, passengers, and any other gear) than a 172, which most people are familiar with. If the aircraft, did in fact, crash on take off, one thing the NTSB will look for is an over gross weight and out of center of gravity range situation (five persons and their skydiving gear on board) resulting in a pitch up on rotation and stall, or if there was an engine failure, then a stall could also occur, especially if an attempt to quickly turn back to the runway bled off too much airspeed resulting in spin (the aircraft can also lose lift in a steep turn called an “accelerated stall”).

    All this being said, I don’t want to dismiss how much of a terrible tragedy this is for those involved and their families/friends. You don’t usually see this level of catastrophic aviation accident in Hawaii, compared to say Alaska. It was a very bad day, with an additional ditching of a Beechcraft today, but those folks were okay. As a former light aircraft pilot here in my youth, I was subject to the same risks and great care needed to be exercised, as general aviation can be very unforgiving.

  • Does anybody out there know the tail number of the plane? I think I’ve jumped out of that plane a few dozen times. It’s a fairly risky sport, and things do go wrong sometimes.

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