Molokai Island, HI Commuter Airline Crash, Oct 1989
HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL TEAM DIES IN COMMUNTER CRASH IN HAWAII.
Honolulu (AP) - A small island grieved over the loss of 13 residents, including members of a high school volleyball team, who were among 20 people killed in a twin-engine commuter plane crash.
A National Transportation Safety Board team left Sunday from Washington, D.C., for the island of Molokai to investigate the cause of the crash, which killed all aboard. A six-person NTSB team was expected at the site today.
The Aloha IslandAir DH6 Twin Otter crashed into the wall of Halawa Valley on the eastern end of the island, just below the ridgeline and about 700 feet above the valley floor, Coast Guard spokesman Scott Hartvigson said.
The cause of the crash was not known.
Rescuers recovered 20 bodies from the charred wreckage of the plane on Sunday. Fire rescue teams used helicopters to ferry the bodies back to Kahului Airport on the island of Maui, said Maui Deputy Fire Chief Leroy Hokoana said. The islands are separated by 10-mile-wide Pailolo Channel.
The victims included eight members of Molokai High School's volleyball teams, the coach of the girl's team and the school's athletic director, Principal Clifford Horita said. Three other island residents also were killed.
The plane, owned by a subsidiary of Aloha Airlines Inc., carried 18 passengers and a crew of two, Early said. The crew members were identified as CAPTAIN BRUCE POLLARD and FIRST OFFICER PHIL HELFRICH.
The passengers included PETER and ELIZABETH WILEY of Philadelphia; JOHN and CHRISTINA CRAIG of Houston; and HANK GABRIEL of Maui.
The others were all from Molokai and were identified as:
JOHN INO, high schools athletic director.
ODETTA RAPANOT, girls volleyball coach.
Ages were not immediately available.
Horita said school would be held today, but he planned to arrange a special morning assembly to help students cope with the tragedy.
"We'll try to help them learn how to handle this, first as a group and then for those who need it, individually," he said.
Before the wreckage was found, about 600 of Molokai Island's 6,000 residents gathered at a community center in the town of Kaunakakai. When officials announced that the plane had crashed and there were no survivors, many wept and comforted each other.
"In any tragedy in a small community like this, everyone feels very badly," Horita said. "Everyone knows everyone here."
The announcement of the wreckage was made by Jonathan Lindo, whose daughter had returned with other members of the volleyball teams on an earlier flight.
"They're still a part of us," said team member Rhonda Dudoit.