private jet crash
Two women and four menBy Gary Kubota
lost their lives last night when
a private jet slammed into a
Kaana slope in clear weather
HOOLEHUA, Molokai -- Search crews recovered a sixth body this morning at the crash site of a private jet on Molokai.
The North American Rockwell Sabreliner 65 jet was traveling from Maui to the airport at Hoolehua last night when it crashed in Kaana, about four miles southwest of the airport.
Two pilots and four passengers were on board, said Acting Fire Chief Frank Tam. Five bodies were recovered last night.
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The names of the victims are not being released. Tam said there were two women and four men on board the plane, and it appeared they were not Hawaii residents.
Witnesses camping nearby said they heard a loud explosion and saw a "fireball" after the 8:35 p.m. crash.
Tam said the jet arrived at the Kahului airport at 7:30 p.m. yesterday from Christmas Island and left at 8:10 p.m. for Molokai.
Officials said the plane was apparently on a southwest approach to Molokai Airport when it crashed in Kaana near the top of a slope.
"If it was 50 feet higher, it would have made it," said Miller Maioho, a firefighter who was at the crash scene.
Maioho said the night was dark but the weather was clear. "The stars were out," he said.
Maioho said the bodies were badly burned.
The crash scene is in a hilly area on Molokai Ranch land. Police and Molokai Ranch workers kept reporters away from the site.
West Molokai residents Reggie Peterson and his wife, Kansas McGahan, said the airplane flew over their house last night in Maunaloa.
Peterson said the house is at the 1,100-foot level, and the plane sounded like it was flying about 500 to 1,000 feet above it.
"It sounded like it was coming in really low," said McGahan.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigator Howard Plagens to Molokai.
The Sabreliner with the tail number NA265 is registered to Price Aircraft Co., located in Broomfield, Colo., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA said it was built in 1980 and sold to Price. The aircraft had no previous reported accidents or incidents.
There was no immediate comment from company officials in Colorado.
The Sabreliner is a medium-range jet that can accommodate two pilots and up to 10 passengers. It is 46 feet long with a wing span of 50 feet, 6 inches. Its range is 2,700 miles. The plane was originally designed for the military to be used by the Navy and the Air Force as a trainer and a utility transport.
LOCAL AIR ACCIDENTS
FATAL PLANE CRASHES LAST YEAR:Sept. 25, 1999: Pilot and nine passengers killed. Mauna Loa. Piper Chieftain.
July 4, 1999: One man killed. Hilo Airport. Twin-engine Beechcraft Baron.
May 23, 1999: Pilot killed. Offshore Mokuleia. Twin-engine Beechcraft B-90.
Feb. 28, 1999: Pilot killed. 345 miles northeast of Maui. Cessna.
MOLOKAI PLANE CRASHESNov. 1, 1996: A single-engine Piper Seneca carrying Maui Democratic Party Chairman Robert McCarthy and Maui County Councilman Tom Morrow crashes on Molokai, killing a total of five people.
Oct. 28, 1989: Aloha Island Air Flight 1712. Twenty people die, including members of Molokai High School's girls' and boys' volleyball teams. Worst interisland air disaster in island's history.
June 18, 1989: Two people die when a single-engine Grumman AA-1 crashes off of Kalaupapa.
Dec. 23, 1987. Eight people die when a Panorama Twin-engine Piper Chieftain is lost between Molokai and Oahu.
Reporter Gregg K. Kakesako contributed to this story.