Hanapepe, Hawaii (KHON) – Fire officials have confirmed that five adults have died in a plane crash that occurred just outside the fence line of Port Allen Airport, also known as Burns Field, in Hanapepe.
The FAA reports that the single-engine Cessna 182H crashed under unknown circumstances while taking off at approximately 9:30 a.m. The plane caught fire after crashing.
County officials say the plane was owned by Skydive Kauai, which operates out of the airport. It is believed that the company was conducting a skydive tour at the time of the crash and had a pilot, two skydive instructors and two tandem jumpers on board.
Four individuals were pronounced dead at the scene and one adult male was transported to Wilcox Hospital, where he was then pronounced dead.
The names of those involved in the crash have not yet been confirmed. An autopsy will be conducted this week.
Cisco Campos, who witnessed the crash, said the plane was just a couple of minutes into its flight after taking off when “all of a sudden, the engine just knocked off. They was trying to turn back in, but the thing went straight down. When it was going straight down, the flames came out of the engine.”
The crash resulted in a small brush fire in the surrounding area, which firefighters had extinguished by approximately 10:30 a.m. with the help of Air 1 and two water tenders provided by the Department of Public Works.
Representatives from the Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division was also on scene and the Kauai Civil Defense Agency assisted with the coordination of emergency response.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been notified of the incident and will work with officials to help determine the cause of the crash.
Volunteers from Life’s Bridges, a grief counseling service, is assisting the families of the victims.
The public is advised to avoid the area.