By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The initial investigation into the accident that killed nine people on United Airlines flight 811 on February 24, 1989 placed part of the blame on Brian Kitaoka of Ewa Beach, who at the time worked as a Ramp Serviceman for United. This week, for the first time, Kitaoka met the husband and wife who helped absolve him of any blame.
The National Transportation Safety Board eventually changed its findings. Kitaoka was exonerated. He credits the revised accident report on the tireless work of Kevin and Susan Campbell, a couple from New Zealand who lost their 24 year old son Lee in the accident.
The Campbells did their own investigation into the accident. They concluded it was an electrical problem, and not something Kitaoka did, that caused a cargo door to fall off the Boeing 747 at 22,000 feet. The revised NTSB report concluded a "faulty switch or wiring" caused the accident.
Kitaoka and others are sure the NTSB would not have found the truth if not for the Campbell's private inquiry.
"If it wasn't for the tenacity of the Campbell's, the report would still to this day state door failure because of failure of ramp serviceman to close door properly," Kitaoka told Hawaii News Now.
For more on this story watch the two corresponding video clips once they are attached to this page.