The Latest: Witness says plane nosedived before crash

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on a fatal plane crash in Hawaii (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

An eyewitness to the crash of a plane carrying sky divers in Hawaii saw the plane take flight, get 75 feet (23 meters) to 100 feet (30 meters) off the ground and turn away from the mountain range nearby.

Steven Tickemyer says the plane started to nosedive, then flip over belly forward so that it was upside down. The aircraft then flipped over again and hit the ground nose first. He says there was an explosion when it hit the ground.

Eleven people died in the crash Friday night on Oahu’s North Shore.

Tickemyer says this all happened in about 20 to 30 seconds.

He and his friends were watching from a beach across the street where they were attending a friend’s small wedding ceremony.

He and his friends hopped in his truck, called 911 and drove over to help.

They screamed to see if anyone would call for help, but no one responded.


2:10 p.m.

An eyewitness to the deadly plane crash in Hawaii saw the small airplane flying over the rim of trees right before it crashed.

Wylie Schoonover witnessed the plane as she was driving Friday night from a nearby YMCA camp on Oahu’s North Shore.

She says she then saw smoke billowing from the airport, and she went to investigate.

Schoonover says the wreckage was unrecognizable, and there was an “insane amount of fire.”

She says it didn’t even look like a plane, and people were asking what it was.


1:50 p.m.

Natacha Mendenhall said her cousin Casey Williamson, who worked at the Oahu Parachute Center, was on board the plane. She said her family has not been officially notified of his death. But they provided Honolulu police with Williamson’s name and date of birth, and the police confirmed he was on the flight, she said.

The 29-year-old Yukon, Oklahoma, native started skydiving about two-and-a-half years ago. He moved to Hawaii a year and a half ago to focus on sky-diving full time. He was an adventurer, Mendenhall said, who lived in Vail, Colorado, to snowboard and Moab, Utah, to skydive.

He worked as a videographer who filmed customers as they dove. He was trying to earn more jumping hours and learn the trade, she said.

Williamson was his mother Carla Ajaga’s only child, Mendenhall said.

“We’re all very upset,” said Mendenhall, speaking from her home in Fort Worth, Texas. “She cannot really talk right now. What she wants everyone to know is how full of life her son was, how loving he was.”

The family has created a GoFundMe account to raise money for his funeral expenses.


12 p.m.

A Honolulu City Council member says a review of policies and procedures for skydiving businesses will be undertaken following a deadly crash on Oahu.

A plane carrying skydivers crashed and burned shortly after taking off Friday night from a small airfield on the North Shore. All 11 people on board were killed.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said Saturday that members will wait for the results of the Federal Aviation Administration investigation before considering action.

She says they will work with state and federal officials to evaluate the policies and protections in place concerning the safety of skydiving businesses, customers, residents and visitors.


11:30 a.m.

Records show an airplane that crashed in Hawaii, killing 11 people onboard, had a previous close call while also carrying skydivers in California.

A National Transportation Safety Board report into the July 23, 2016, incident near Byron in Northern California blamed pilot error when the Beechcraft twin-engine airplane stalled and went into spins three times.

The report says all 14 parachutists on board jumped to safety during the second spinning event, which lasted nine rotations.

The unidentified pilot was able to land the airplane but it suffered substantial damage.

The first stall happened before a piece of horizontal stabilizer and elevator broke off. The NTSB blamed pilot error, saying he didn’t maintain speed.

Parts of the tail broke off from stress as the pilot tried to recover from spins.

The plane was also too heavily weighted toward the back, for which investigators again blamed the pilot.


10: 40 a.m.

An eyewitness says he saw an airplane turn around shortly after takeoff from a Hawaii airfield before it skimmed some trees and crashed, killing 11 people.

Steven Tickemyer told Honolulu television station KHON that it appeared the plane carrying skydivers turned around from the mountains near Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s North Shore.

He says the plane was flying at a low altitude, skimmed some trees and crashed near the perimeter fence of the airport.

Tickemyer says when he arrived at the scene a couple of minutes later, the plane was engulfed in flames.

Federal investigators will determine the cause of the crash. Officials initially said nine people died in the crash before changing the death toll to 11.


10:10 a.m.

Officials in Hawaii have raised the death toll to 11 after a plane carrying skydivers crashed on Oahu.

Timothy Sakahara, a spokesman for the state transportation department, said Saturday that authorities have confirmed there were 11 people onboard the plane that went down shortly after taking off Friday night from a small North Shore airport

Sakahara says there were no survivors. The Honolulu Fire Department said the plane was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Officials had initially said there were nine people on board the airplane, and all perished.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team of investigators to probe the cause of the deadly crash.


8:30 a.m.

A state official says a skydiving flight that crashed in Hawaii, killing nine people, was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center.

Tim Sakahara of the Hawaii Department of Transportation said Saturday that six employees and three customers were killed.

He said the group may have been planning tandem jumps that involve one customer and one employee.

No identities were immediately released after the Friday crash.

Calls to the company early Saturday went unanswered.


6 a.m.

A team of federal crash investigators is being sent to Hawaii to determine why a plane carrying parachutists crashed, killing nine people.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said preliminary reports indicate the crash occurred as the plane took off from a small airport north of Honolulu.

The twin-engine Beechcraft BE65 crashed Friday near Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s North Shore.

The plane was destroyed by fire near a perimeter fence.

The National Transportation Safety Board isn’t expected to release a report on the cause of the crash for about a year.


9:40 p.m.

Honolulu’s fire chief says a plane that crashed Friday night, killing nine people on board, was used in a skydiving operation.

Fire chief Manuel Neves said there were no survivors in the crash near Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s North Shore.

The plane in flames when firefighters arrived.

Names of the victims have not been released.

Neves says some family members stayed at the airport while the flight took off.


9:21 p.m.

Authorities in Hawaii are investigating after nine people were killed in a small plane crash.

The crash occurred Friday evening on the North Shore of Oahu. Officials say there were no survivors in the crash at Dillingham Airfield.

Honolulu Police Chief Manuel Neves said the plane was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived. The crash was far from the airfield’s runway, near perimeter fencing.

Other details of the crash weren’t immediately known.

Names of the victims have not been released.


This story has been corrected to … APNewsNow. Updates with additional details from witness and corrects spelling of his name in previous account that moved at 10:40 a.m.. Links new photos.


This story has been corrected to correct the spelling of Steven Tickemyer’s name in the item that moved at 10:40 a.m.

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