June 22 (UPI) — A small plane crashed during a skydiving excursion in Hawaii, killing all nine aboard, authorities said.
The King Air twin-engine plane crashed Friday evening near Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s north shore with nine people aboard and “no apparent survivors,” the Hawaii Department of Transportation tweeted.
The aircraft operated by the Oahu Parachute Center crashed about 6:30 p.m. Of the nine killed, three were customers on a skydiving excursion, and six were employees, Hawaii News Now staff reported.
The Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the crash, State Transportation Department officials said.
“We are mourning this terrible tragedy,” DOT Director Jade Butay told reporters Friday night.
Fire Chief Manuel Neves told reporters that family members of those on board were on the ground when the crash occurred and may have seen the plane go down, which was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
“It is very difficult,” Neves said. “In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident we’ve had.”
The airfield is a general aviation airport operated by the Hawaii Department of Transportation under a 25-year lease from the U.S. Army, Hawaii’s government website says.
In wake of the crash, the Dillingham Airfield will be closed indefinitely.