Nine people aboard a plane taking passengers on a skydiving trip were killed after the plane crashed and burned on Friday night north of Honolulu, authorities said.
The plane, a twin-engine Beechcraft BE65, crashed under unknown circumstances while taking off from Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s North Shore around 6:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said. The plane was destroyed by the fire, according to the agency.
“In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident that we’ve had,” Manny Neves, fire chief for the Honolulu Fire Department, said at a news conference on Friday night. “We had some helicopters with the military, but this is a civilian plane that went down.”
He added: “There is nothing left of the plane.”
The authorities have identified the skydiving company but not released its name. The names of the victims were also not released. It was unclear how many of those on board were passengers.
No one at the airfield was available to comment on Saturday.
Chief Neves said that the cause of the crash was not known.
The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate, an agency spokesman, Eric Weiss, said.
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