Additional Victims Located in Oahu Skydiving Accident

NTSB calls this the worst civil aircraft accident since 2011

King Air skydiving airplane
N256TA was the aircraft involved in the Oahu accident.Oahu Parachute Center

Local authorities on the island of Oahu said Saturday that two more victims were located at the site of last week’s King Air accident at Dillingham Airfield on the northwest corner of the island. The new victims raise the fatality count in the accident to 11. At an onsite media briefing Sunday, NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said, “This is the deadliest civil aircraft accident in the United States since 2011.”

The King Air – N256TA – went down early Friday evening within the Dillingham airport property just moments after takeoff for a routine near-sunset skydiving mission for the Oahu Parachute Center. The aircraft was outfitted for up to 13 people. By the time first responders reached the aircraft, it was completely engulfed in flames. Little of the original airframe survived the fire.

Homendy said the Board has 11 people on site to assist in the investigation, gathering perishable evidence like maintenance and pilot records, FAA oversight of the company, as well as local weather and airport conditions at the time of the crash. Homendy said the same aircraft was involved in an accident in California on July 23, 2016, in which the pilot lost control of the aircraft as he prepared to drop a number of jumpers. All 14 jumpers aboard that day escaped after they jumped from the airplane at 12,000 feet. The video also captures pieces of the King Air flying off the airplane following a spin that was reported as at least nine full rotations before the King Air pilot managed to get it down on the ground. While the pilot of the aircraft survived the 2016 crash, the accident caused substantial damage to the King Air's tail. Homendy said, "The investigation will look at the quality of the repairs at that time. The aircraft did not carry a flight data recorder. N256TA, built in 1967, was registered to a Granite Bay California LLC.

Homendy called attention to a special investigative report the Board published on skydiving that reviewed 32 accidents that occurred between 1981 and 2008 in an attempt to identify recurring safety issues. She said the NTSB has no idea yet whether any of the issues mentioned in that report were factors in the Oahu accident.

The NTSB asked anyone with information, photos or videos related to the accident to please come forward or email them to witness@ntsb.gov. The aircraft will be removed to a secure location to complete the investigation. This story was edited on June 26, 2019, at 11:00 am CST.