Oahu Parachute Center owner responds for the first time following crash

Local News

Monday, we hear from the owner of Oahu Parachute Center for the first time following the deadly crash. Oahu Parachute Center is relatively new but the same owner operated as “Hawaii Parachute Center” for nearly a decade before that.

Friday evening, 11 people tragically lost their lives in what officials call the deadliest civilian airplane crash in the nation since 2011. Many of the victims worked for Oahu Parachute Center.

In a statement the company owner George Rivera tells us:
“All I can say is that we are in full cooperation with HPD, the FAA and the NTSB in trying to determine the cause of the accident.”

Oahu Parachute Center is a relatively new business entity, established in 2017. Investigators tell us they’re aware of two inspections from the FAA. The NTSB says the company received an initial start-up inspection by the FAA in December 2017.

“And then as part of a follow on to that, received an operations inspection in March 2018 those are the only inspections and that’s normal as part of start-up operations,” said NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy. 

The FAA says all aircraft must be inspected annually, regardless of what they’re used for. The FAA tells us it does not conduct annual inspections. An FAA-certificated mechanic does. The FAA conducts regular and random surveillance of operators.

The NTSB will be determining how the crash happened and why. We’re told the plane accelerated to takeoff speed and after about 5,500 feet, it turned to the left and crashed upside down. 

Officials say they’ve formed 3 groups focused on specific aspects of the investigation: airworthiness, power plants meaning they’ll be looking at the engines and operations.

“The areas we are continuing to focus on in this investigation are pilot performance, operations of the parachute center, aircraft inspection and maintenance, and fed oversight of this operator and the pilot,” said Homendy. 

On Sunday, NTSB asked for the public’s help for more information, photos, and videos of the crash and received a tremendous response overnight. 

“It is extremely helpful the information that we received. We have another request. We are looking for photos from the last 2 years of this aircraft, specifically front views of the aircraft or rear views of the aircraft,” said Homendy. 

NTSB is asking you to email them at witness@ntsb.gov. The tail number is N256TA. 
 

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