Hawaii: Nine skydivers killed in plane crash

A plume of smoke rises after an airplane crash, seen from Kaiaka Bay Beach Park, in Haleiwa, Hawaii, U.S., June 21, 2019 in this image obtained from social media. Image copyright Reuters

A light aircraft carrying skydivers has crashed in Hawaii, killing at least nine people on board, officials say.

The twin-engine aircraft went down close to Dillingham Airfield near Mokuleia in Honolulu County.

There were no survivors from the crash, the Hawaii Department of Transportation tweeted. Family members may have seen the plane go down.

Photos showed smoke visible from miles away. It is not yet clear whether the plane was taking off or landing.

"Right now, the initial report is that there were nine souls on board," fire chief Manuel Neves told Hawaii News Now. "There's no survivors."

Family members of the skydivers were on the ground when the crash happened and may have seen the aircraft go down, he said.

"It is very difficult. In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident we've had," he added.

The Honolulu Fire Department said it had received reports of a downed plane at about 18:00 local time on Friday.

Of the nine killed, three were customers and six were employees of the company operating the flight.

According to its website, Dillingham Airfield is a joint-use site with the US military having first priority for air-land operations and helicopter night-vision training.

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