9 dead after twin-engine aircraft crashes in Hawaii

Nine people are dead after a twin-engine aircraft carrying skydivers went down near a Hawaii airfield Friday night, officials said.

The crash occurred near Dillingham Airfield, on the north shore of Oahu, the Hawaii Department of Transportation said.

Nine people were aboard the King Air twin-engine plane, and Honolulu’s fire chief said that there are no survivors.

The transportation agency had initially said first responders reported six deaths.

“It’s very difficult. In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident we’ve had,” Fire Chief Manuel Neves said, according to NBC affiliate KHNL.

Officials with the Honolulu Fire Department told KHNL that the first reports of a downed aircraft came in at 6:30 p.m., and when firefighters arrived they found the wreckage of the plane fully engulfed in flames.

The airport is a public and military use airport, but officials told the station that the plane that crashed was not a military aircraft.

U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii tweeted a traffic advisory that stated a highway was closed due to a skydiving aircraft accident.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation operates Dillingham Airfield under a lease from the Army, according to its website.

Kirk Caldwell, mayor of the city and county of Honolulu, said in a statement that he was closely following developments.

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

Two inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration were at the crash site Friday evening, the agency said in a statement.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

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