11 dead after skydiving plane crashes in Hawaii

ByLisa Amin KGO logo
Sunday, June 23, 2019
11 dead after skydiving plane crashes in Hawaii
EMBED <>More Videos

The same skydiving plane that crashed killing 11 people in Hawaii had problems flying above Contra Costa County in 2016.

OAHU, Hawaii. (KGO) -- Avid sky diver, Eugene Ciurana said, "That day that happened I was here in the afternoon."

That day was July 23, 2016, when a Beechcraft twin engine plane carrying 15 people started barrel rolling through the sky.

Back then, the plane was leased by Bay Area Skydiving, in Byron.

A new company took over in 2018 and didn't acquire that plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the erratic flight on pilot error.

RELATED: Plane involved in deadly Hawaii crash was damaged in near crash in Contra Costa County 3 years ago

"Started coming down spinning spinning spinning. The plane dropped for so many thousands of feet it was harried for the people I know on board of that aircraft," Eugene Ciurana recalled.

The same plane from the Byron incident crashed Friday in Hawaii as it carried 11 people - killing everyone on board.

A witness said, "It starts to flip in reverse, as it starts to kind of decline decline decline and then it kind of skimmed off those trees and smashed onto the floor."

It's not clear how the plane ended up in Hawaii, but sources say it cleared federal inspections before leaving California.

RELATED: Skydiving plane crashes in Hawaii, killing all 11 aboard

Meantime, those in the sky diving community are struggling with this loss.

"Very tragic. Hits close to home. We're a close knit community and I sky dived in Hawaii before so I know some of the people down there. Hopefully none of the ones that were on that airplane," Tom Metz said.

One of the victims on that airplane was Larry LeMaster - a beloved instructor from Hawaii.

Friends and family are posting heartfelt tributes on Facebook.