Plane crew saw no problems before crash
Hawaii Air Ambulance officials said a crew member reported no problems aboard the company's Cessna 414A four minutes before the plane crashed into a Kahului car dealership Wednesday night.
Assistant Chief Flight Nurse Brien P. Eisaman's last radio transmission from the plane gave no indication of anything unusual, Andrew Kluger, Hawaii Air Ambulance chief executive officer, said yesterday.
Hawaii Air Ambulance has set up bank accounts to the families of the three victims. Anyone interested can make a donation at the airport branch of Hawaii National Bank on Lagoon Drive.
Peter Miller: The pilot, 32, always talked with friends about his love for flying
Brien Eisaman: The nurse, 37, said in his last broadcast that he saw the airfield
Marlena Yomes: Friends recall the paramedic, 39, as having a bubbly personality
Eisaman's last contact had been with Medical Director Robert Bonham, a conversation that had ended at 7:11 p.m.
"At that point, Brien indicated that he had already seen the airfield to land and that he would get back to Dr. Bonham in a few minutes to discuss the patient," Kluger said. "He then ceased contact with the plane, and the plane went down between 7:11 and 7:15."
Friends of the victims began to gather yesterday on Maui. Killed in the crash were Eisaman, 37, a nurse and Waipahu resident and the assistant chief flight nurse; Hawaii Air Ambulance pilot Peter A. Miller, a 32-year-old Kailua resident; and Marlena L. Yomes, 39, a paramedic, Honolulu base station supervisor and Waianae resident.
"We're grieving -- I think that is the proper word," Kluger said. "It's an ohana and we're saddened greatly.
"It's affected our crews as any family would having a loss."
"We're grieving --
I think that is the proper word.
It's an ohana and we're
Hawaii Air Ambulance chief executive officer
Kluger said the airport tower on Maui also did not receive any indication of problems from the crew and that the same plane and crew had just completed a trip to Maui to pick up a patient earlier that day.
Friends remembered the victims as friendly people who wanted to help others.
Miller was positive, charismatic and was always smiling, said longtime friend Ikaika Aluli. He was an awesome guy who was always willing to help people, Aluli said.
Miller entered surf competitions during his teen years and was involved in modeling.
Aluli, who knew Miller for more than 10 years, said he would regularly go surfing with him at spots in Kaneohe Bay like North Beach and Pyramid Rock.
Aluli said he also taught youth how to surf and was a positive role model for them.
"A lot of young people looked up to him," he added. "He was a natural mentor."
Miller, who has a twin brother, Michael, and a father who is a retired Aloha Airlines pilot, always wanted to be a pilot, Aluli said. "He always talked about his love for flying and how much he loved his job."
Maui resident Hula Nakasone, who brought a bouquet of flowers to the crash site, remembered how pilot Miller and two nurses helped to save the life of her husband, Dennis, who had a severe heart attack.
GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Maui residents Susan and Dennis Nakasone brought flowers yesterday to the Kahului crash site. Dennis Nakasone said Hawaii Air Ambulance, including pilot Peter Miller, helped save his life by transporting him to Honolulu in 2002.
Nakasone said she did not like to fly and that the night weather was stormy, but pilot Peter Miller was "very comforting."
"He told us we'd get through," Nakasone said. "There was lightning and thunder. The plane was like a paper kite."
On Maui, friends, including several paramedics, brought leis to place near a coconut tree by the crash site.
"We just came to pay our respects," said Pat Gragas, a paramedic who once worked for Hawaii Air Ambulance and knew the victims.
Joe Crivello III, a former Waianae resident, said Yomes was a close family friend and that she was "a very nice person" who sometimes shared stories about her medical work.
"She had a very strong personality. She could deal with people in extreme situations," Crivello said.
Yomes was a veteran paramedic since the day she started, according to Patricia Dukes, chief of the city Emergency Medical Services Division.
"We've known her for 15 years. She has a large extended ohana here, so we are bewildered and feeling such deep anguish over this whole event. It's hard to find the proper words to talk about it," Dukes said.
She described Yomes as a woman with a bubbly personality who made people laugh hysterically "with glee with just a little manini story."
"Everywhere she went, she brought happiness and laughter in every story that she would tell," Dukes said.
She was a top-notch paramedic who made patients feel better just with her personality alone, she added. "Patients immediately liked her, and her skill was second to none."
Yomes was featured in a Discovery Channel show that ran sometime during the mid-1990s which focused on the daily lives of paramedics on the job.
Yomes is survived by her husband, Gilbert, and two children.
Star-Bulletin reporter Gary T. Kubota contributed to this report.