HONOLULU (AP) — Nine people died in a fiery crash of a small airplane used in a sky dive operation, officials in Hawaii said.
There were no survivors after the twin engine King Air plane crashed Friday night near Dillingham Airfield, on Oahu's North Shore, Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said.
"Upon arrival, we saw the plane fully engulfed in fire," Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves told reporters on the scene. "The first crews on scene extinguished the fire."
Neves said the crashed occurred near the perimeter fencing of the small airport. "They're quite a ways away from the runway," he said.
The plane was used in a sky dive operation, and Neves said some family members of those on board waited at the airport for the plane to return.
The debris field was relatively small, about 50 feet (15 meters) by 50 feet (15 meters), he said.
"In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident what we've had," he told reporters at the scene, about an hour's drive north of Honolulu.
Crews with Honolulu Emergency Services said it assisted with death pronouncements of the nine after receiving the call at 6:26 p.m. local time, agency spokeswoman Shayne Enright said.
Names, ages and genders of the deceased have not been released.
Neves said many details are still not known about the flight. But he says witnesses have said the plane was inbound to the airport when the crash occurred but that has not been confirmed.
Officials initially reported that six people had been on board.