11 Confirmed Dead After Oahu, Hawaii Skydiving Aircraft Crash
- Oahu, HI
11 people are dead after a skydiving plane crashed just outside of Oahu Hawaii. The first call came in at 6:20pm Hawaiian Time, 9:20pm Pacific Standard Time. The aircraft was a Beechcraft BE65 twin engine aircraft owned by King Airlines. Initial reports from the Hawaii Department of Transportation were that there were nine passengers on board the aircraft. However, the Honolulu Police Department has confirmed that 11 died in the crash, ten males and one female. The Beechcraft BE65 twin-engine plane crashed during taking off Friday evening at Dillingham Airfield on Oahu's North Shore, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
HPD closed down local Farrington Highway by Dillingham Airfield in both directions as emergency crews responded to the incident.
One wife of the crash victim said that "he was doing what he loved".
Professional parachute demonstrator Larry Lemaster, an Army veteran with more than 3,000 jumps, died doing what he loved, his wife, Anna Elkins, wrote on Facebook Saturday. Lemaster was among eleven people killed Friday when authorities said a small plane crashed during a skydiving excursion in Hawaii and erupted into flames.
"I don't have an explanation for the utter tragedy that has happened," Elkins wrote.
"But Larry Lemaster would never want one person to waste a single minute of their life mourning his. He was doing what he loved. We spoke about this on many occasions."
Elkins said her "heart also goes out to" the Oahu Parachute Center and the loved ones of friends who perished in the crash.
"Today is the worst day of my life. My son has lost his father... He wants you to celebrate his life and your own. Love who you love with great intensity. Do what makes you happy. Be the person you want to be because obviously tomorrow is not guaranteed," she wrote.
The cause of the wreck wasn't immediately known. The plane was carrying passengers who intended to skydive, and it crashed around 6:30 p.m. at a fence away from the runway, Honolulu Fire Department Chief Manuel P. Neves told reporters Friday night.
The plane was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Neves said. Some family members of those aboard were at the airfield when the plane went down, Neves said.
The names of the passengers have not been formally released by authorities.
- Story by Hawaiian Associated Press