Federal investigators have released a preliminary report on an airplane crash that killed five men shortly after takeoff on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, May 23.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators have spoken with multiple witnesses who reported that the Cessna 182H “made a sudden right turn, descended, and impacted with (the ground),” where it became engulfed in fire.
The airplane, which was registered to D&J Air Adventures, was about 150 feet above ground when it suddenly banked and descended, the NTSB said. The wreckage was taken to a facility on the island for further analysis.
Records show the airplane had taken off Port Allen Airport in Hanapepe at 9:21 am Hawaiian time and was in the air about a minute when it crashed about 9:22 a.m.
The crash killed pilot Damien Horan, 30, and four passengers – skydive instructors Enzo Amitrano, 43, and Wayne Rose, 26, and brothers Marshall and Phillip Cabe, ages 25 and 27 respectively, of Lawton, Okla., who were to jump from the plane in tandem with the instructors.
The Cabe brothers received the skydiving excursion as a gift from their father, Michael Cabe, who accompanied his sons on a trip to visit family in Kauai and witnessed the crash in horror.
According to Kauai’s The Garden Island, “Michael watched in horror, screaming as the plane flew straight up, perpendicular to the ground, but then fell backward. When it hit the grassy field below, it was a ball of flames.”
The NTSB also noted in its early report that D & J Adventures did not file a flight plan before taking off, but leaving a flight plan before an excursion is optional for pilots of private aircraft and it is not unusual for small plane pilots to not leave a flight plan.
The Garden Island reported that three airplanes are registered to D & J Adventures. The airplane involved in the crash was built in 1965, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
The NTSB did not provide any information about possible causes and the investigation remains ongoing. The final report could take up to a year to complete.