Hawaii crash: Skydiving aircraft goes down in ‘deadliest US civilian plane accident for 4 years’

Zamira Rahim

Nine people have died after a skydiving plane crashed in flames in Hawaii, in what is believed to be the worst civilian US plane crash since 2015.

The twin engine King Air plane crashed on Friday night near Dillingham Airfield, a small airport in Oahu, according to a department of transportation spokesperson.

Officials said there were no survivors.

“Upon arrival, we saw the plane fully engulfed in fire,” said Manuel Neves, Honolulu Fire Chief.

“The first crews on scene extinguished the fire.”

Mr Neves said the plane was used in skydiving operations and that some victims’ families had been waiting for them at the airport.

“In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident what we’ve had,” he said.

The plane crashed to the ground near the airport’s perimetre fencing.

“They’re quite a ways away from the runway,” Mr Neves added.

Witnesses have told officials the plane was inbound to the airport when it crashed, but this was unconfirmed at the time of publication.

“I am closely following the tragic developments out of Dillingham Airfield,” said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu’s mayor.

“At this time our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims.”

The accident is believed to be the worst US civilian plane crash since 2015, when nine people were killed in an accident in Akron, Ohio, according to ABC News.

Sixteen people died in a military plane accident in Juy 2017, when a Marine Corps aircraft crashed in Mississippi.

Additional reporting by agencies