According to a press release from a Maui County spokesperson, three people were killed and three were injured after a Maui County chartered plane crashed just outside of Lanai Airport Wednesday night.
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 the deputy attorney for Corporation Counsel was in serious condition. All three survivors were airlifted to Queen's Medical Center after the crash.
The group had been on Lanai earlier that evening to staff a Lanai Planning Commission Meeting which was scheduled to run form 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 seen 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 brush fire 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.
Click here to watch a live interview with Alberta de Jetley of Lanai Today on KITV4 News at 10.
Maui County spokesman Rod Antone says this tragedy is very personal to many.
"I think the last time something like this happened I was a reporter and I covered it. I think some council members, several of them died back in the 90s. It's weird being on this side," said Antone.
Antone also spoke with one of the plane crash survivors.
"They said it was a blur. The next thing he remembered was... calm. They were on a plane, the next minute they're down. He's calling 911 and he said the fire burned all three of them pretty bad," said Antone.
KITV4 News spoke with a man over the phone who said he was the person who transported the group on the plane to and from the airport on Lanai.
"They usually come over on the boat, I guess, on expeditions from Maui. I guess this was the first time I picked them up coming on one charter this late," said Neal Rabaca, owner of Rabaca Shuttle.
Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration says the plane was a twin-engine Piper PA-31. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident with the NTSB taking the lead.
Gregor said the plane crashed under unknown circumstances.
Goodfellow Bros. says it assisted emergency responders by helping them gain access to the scene of the plane crash on Lanai Wednesday night. They released the following statement:
"We thank our employees for their role in assisting and we will continue to assist the state airports division and Maui County fire and police as needed. Our condolences and prayers go out to all those involved in the crash, their families, the County of Maui and the entire Lanai Community. We pray for God’s Blessing and a speedy recovery for the survivors of the crash."
We will continue to update this story on KITV.com and have a full report tonight on KITV4 News at 5, 6 and 10.