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.