Plane involved in deadly crash suffered ‘substantial’ damage in 2016 incident

The latest on the skydiving tragedy on Oahu's North Shore that left 11 people dead

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The skydiving aircraft involved in a deadly crash Friday night on Oahu’s North Shore was severely damaged during an unrelated aviation incident nearly three years ago in northern California.

An accident report released by the National Transportation Safety Board in 2018 said that the Beechcraft King Air A90 airplane suffered “substantial” damage while setting up for a skydiving run with 15 people on board.

It’s not known whether the 2016 incident may have had any lingering impact on the aircraft, or whether the damage it sustained in that crash was a factor in Friday’s incident.

NTSB records show that the plane — marked with the tail number N256TA, which matches the registration information of the flight involved in Friday’s crash — was in mid-air when the pilot noted slowing airspeed, followed by an engine stall and subsequent spiral downward.

Investigators said the skydivers on board were told to jump out of the plane and deploy their parachutes while the pilot worked to regain control of the aircraft.

No injuries were reported during the incident, but some critical instruments on the plane were damaged.

According to the NTSB, the airplane’s right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were missing. Investigators also found additional signs of stress on the plane, enough to classify the damage as “substantial.”

Upon the completion of their investigation, investigators said pilot error — and not a defect with the plane — was largely to blame in the 2016 incident.

They noted the pilot mishandled steps while attempting to gain control of the aircraft, causing equipment malfunctions.

Investigators also said the weight and balance of the plane’s load was miscalculated and a contributing factor.

This story may be updated.

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