‘Everyone was gone,’ witnesses say plane nose-dived into fence

Local News

What was supposed to be a day of fun and adventure turned into tragedy when a skydiving plane carrying 11 people crashed just before sunset at Dillingham Airfield killing all on board.

Many people showed up Saturday to pay their respects to those who were killed. 

On Friday night officials believed nine people were onboard when the skydiving plane crashed, but on Saturday morning Honolulu Police updated the number to 11. 

According to HPD, there were 10 males on board and one female passenger. 

“They were coming in so low and so fast and it’s just not normal,” said one Mokuleia resident, who lives across the street from the airfield and is familiar with hearing skydiving planes on a daily basis.

The witness explained typically take off heading west and after dropping off skydivers comes back from the west heading east when landing. 

“We saw it go from the East to the West, and it was coming down pretty low, pretty much right by the tree line, I’d say probably only a couple hundred feet at most,” the witness said. 

“It was coming down really fast and it looked like the plane was doing some kind of loop or something,” she said. 

She said the plane was not at a good angle as it was approaching the ground.  

“It was pretty much a nose dive just straight down, they were trying to land it as smoothly as possible,” she said.

“It was going pretty much straight down.”

Then she heard the loud crash.

“Immediately, immediately incinerated,” she said.  

She called 911 and drove the quarter mile to the crash site. 

“As soon as we got there people from the skydive area were running over to see what happened and as soon as we showed up I was trying to scream to people ‘Did anyone jump from the plane? Is there anyone injured? We have an ambulance, fire on the way and no one was responding,” she said. 

Other witnesses were camping nearby at Camp Mokuleia when they heard the crash. 

“I was finished setting up my tent and I heard a plane in the background and a few seconds later I heard a loud, low boom it was pretty loud and I looked over and saw the black plume of smoke starting to come up,” said Don Omura, who is staying with family at the camp. 

All witnesses rushed towards the scene and called 911, but say there was nothing anyone could do. 

The Mokuleia resident said she heard the plane explode again when she was there. 

“As soon as it landed it exploded there was no one there, there was no one, everyone was gone for sure whoever was on that plane,” she said. 

“It makes you very grateful for your life, life is truly a blessing, and we never know when our time is going to be,” she said. 

Witnesses say fire crews arrived within ten minutes and put out the fire. 

Farrington Highway was closed for two hours while officials investigated. 

The highway re-opened at 9:30 p.m.

Debris from the plane was still visible this morning while police continued to investigate. 

The NTSB arrived on scene Saturday afternoon and will take the lead in the investigation. 
 

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