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3 persons killed and 3 injured in Hawaii commuter crash, 2nd such crash since December

“An outbound flight from Hawaii’s Lanai Island crashed about a mile from the airport, killing three people and leaving three others injured, authorities said Thursday. The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said. He told The Associated Press that details were still sketchy but that the plane was taking off or had just taken off when it went down. Antone said three are dead, two are critically injured and one is less seriously hurt.” (Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/02/27/3-dead-2-injured-in-plane-crash-on-hawaii-lanai-island/).

“The plane, a twin-engine Piper PA31, burned upon impact, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor. Maui County identified the dead 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, the agency that provides legal services for the county, was in serious condition Thursday morning, according to a nursing supervisor at Queen’s Medical Center and the county. All three survivors were airlifted to a Honolulu hospital. Lanai is part of Maui County, and it’s common for county officials to travel frequently between the islands via plane or ferry. The group had been on Lanai earlier Wednesday evening for a Lanai Planning Commission meeting and had chartered a return flight on Maui Air, the county said. ‘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,’ the county said in a statement. ‘All three survivors suffered burn injuries.’ At a news conference on Thursday, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa choked back tears, describing how county employees are like family. ‘We’re a very small community,’ he said. ‘Everybody knows each other. Everybody works with each other. Any kind of a loss like this really hits home.’ State Sen. J. Kalani English, who represents Lanai, said the crash and a December ocean crash-landing off Molokai highlights how often government officials need to fly. Hawaii Health Director Loretta Fuddy died in the Dec. 11 flight that took off from Molokai’s Kalaupapa peninsula. ‘These flights are very familiar to me,’ said English, who flies frequently between Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Inter-island travel is especially common for officials in Maui County, which includes Molokai and Lanai. ‘It’s one of the hazards of our topography, being a multi-island county and district,’ he said. ‘Hawaii has very, very safe airports and very, very safe flight routes. For us, I mean government officials, because we have to fly so much to these areas, the probability goes up.’ Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said the aircraft down call came at 9:25 p.m. Fire crews located the fully engulfed aircraft about a mile south of the airport, in former pineapple land with grass about two-feet high, he said.” (Source: https://abcnews.go.com/).

“One of the women who died in a fiery plane crash on Lanai Island was originally from Canada and pursued a longtime dream to live in Hawaii, her family said Friday. Kathleen Kern’s family released a statement through the Hawaii Department of Health saying she was one of the three who died in Wednesday’s crash. The pilot and another Maui County Planning Department employee were killed. Authorities haven’t released their names. Three other Maui employees were injured . . . . Kern, 50, was the youngest of eight and was born in Vancouver. She moved to Hawaii in 2009 to work for the Maui planning department. ‘Kathleen was passionate about urban planning from a very young age and believed that public spaces were critical to the functioning of communities,’ the family’s statement said. ‘She had a particular interest in the process of planning and the involvement of the community in that process.’ The team had been traveling to Lanai, which is part of Maui County, for planning meetings with the community on a regular basis for many months, sometimes by ferry, sometimes by plane, Maui Deputy Planning Director Michele McLean said. Health department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said she was asked to disseminate the statement because Kern’s sister-in-law is a retired department employee. ‘Kathleen’s family is devastated with the news of her death,’ the statement said.” (Source: https://abcnews.go.com/).

We at Pilot Law extend our sympathies and condolences to the victims of this crash. We have a lot of experience in handling cases such as this and will continue to independently investigate the possible causes of this terrible accident.  As always, we are available for a free consultation with anyone who may wish to pursue claims on their behalf or on behalf of a loved one.