WAILUKU – Three people were killed and three injured after a Maui County chartered plane crashed just outside of Lanai Airport Wednesday evening. Mayor Alan Arakawa will hold a press conference this morning to release the latest details on the tragedy.
The deceased were identified as the pilot of the plane and two Department of Planning employees. Two other planning employees were in critical condition and a deputy attorney for Corporation Counsel was in serious condition. All three survivors were airlifted to the Queens Medical Center on O’ahu after the crash.
The group had been on Lanai earlier that evening to staff a Lanai Planning Commission Meeting which was scheduled to run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Maui County chartered a return flight on Maui Air which left at around 9:05 p.m.
Emergency dispatch said at 9:23 p.m. they received a 911 call from a man who said he had been in a plane crash. Maui County fire and police crews responded to the crash area, known as Miki Basin, located about a mile southeast from Lanai Airport.
When fire crews got to the scene they had to put out a small brushfire ignited by flames from the wreckage. The man who called 911, the deputy attorney for Corporation Counsel, said he had pulled two of his co-workers away from the fire as best he could because they could not move on their own. All three survivors suffered burn injuries.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board have been notified of the crash. Maui police investigators will be on scene at the crash site at first light Thursday morning. The identities of the victims will be released by police after they conduct their investigation.