Nine people have died in a fiery plane crash on the North Shore of the US Hawaiian island Oahu while on a skydiving trip, officials said.
There were no survivors when the plane went down on Friday night near the perimeter of Dillingham Airfield “quite a ways away from the runway”, said Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves.
“Upon arrival, we saw the plane fully engulfed in fire,” he said. “The first crews on scene extinguished the fire.”
Some family members of those on board were at the airport waiting for the plane to return when the crash occurred.
“In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident that we’ve had,” Neves told reporters at the scene, about an hour’s drive north of Honolulu.
#HDH update: With extreme sadness HDOT reports there were 9 souls on board the King Air twin engine plane that went down near Dillingham Airfield with no apparent survivors.
— Hawaii DOT (@DOTHawaii) June 22, 2019
Neves said the debris field was relatively small, about 50 feet (15 metres) by 50 feet.
Crews with Honolulu Emergency Services said they assisted with death pronouncements of the nine after receiving the call at 6:26pm local time (04:26 GMT), agency spokeswoman Shayne Enright said.
Authorities in Hawaii are investigating the cause of the crash.
Neves said many details were still not known about the flight. But he said witnesses had said the plane was landing at the airport when the crash occurred but that had not been confirmed.