A skydiving plane crashed and burst into flames just after takeoff from a small seaside airfield on the island of Oahu, killing 11 people, officials said Saturday. Authorities initially reported that nine people died in the crash Friday evening and that three of them were customers of a skydiving company and six were employees, the AP reports. But the Hawaii Department of Transportation tweeted Saturday that officials later "confirmed there were 11 people on board the plane" and no survivors. The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air plane took off from Dillingham Airfield on the north shore of the island.
The plane was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center skydiving company and the ratio of employees to customers suggested that tandem jumps may have been planned in which the customers would have jumped while attached to experienced skydivers, Tim Sakahara, a spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Transportation, told reporters. Neves described the site of the crash near the airport's perimeter as being "quite a ways away from the runway" and said that some family members of those aboard were at the airport when the plane went down at about 6:30pm. "In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident that we've had," Neves said.
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