Family, friends mourn 11 killed in one of Hawaii’s worst civil aviation disasters
DILLINGHAM AIRFIELD, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Colorado couple celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary. A Kauai skydiver who told his mom he was excited to be going on his first sunset skydiving jump. An expert skydiver who participated in parachute performances on the mainland.
As the investigation into Friday’s skydiving plane crash on Oahu’s North Shore continues, family members and friends are remembering the 11 killed when the aircraft went down shortly after takeoff ― in the nation’s deadliest civilian airplane crash since 2011 and one of the worst in Hawaii history.
NTSB investigators remain on island as they look for clues into what brought the plane down.
The Medical Examiner’s Office has released the identities of those killed when the Beechcraft King twin-engine airplane they were in crashed and then erupted in flames.
Those identified were:
- Joshua Drablos, 27, a Navy sailor stationed in Hawaii.
- Nikolas Glebov, 28, of St. Paul, Minn.
- Daniel Herndon, 35, of Hawaii.
- Michael Martin, 32, of Hawaii.
- Jordan Tehero, 23, of Hawaii.
- Ashley Weikel, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Bryan Weikel, 27, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Larry Lemaster, 50, of Hawaii
- Casey Williamson, 29, of Hawaii
The Weikels were in Hawaii to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary. Before the crash, Bryan Weikel’s mother begged her son not to go up.
Through tears, she told Hawaii News Now that the couple was “like a shining example of what humanity used to be and what humanity needs to be. That was them.”
Kenneth Weikel, Bryan’s brother, said he’s lost his best friend.
“I don’t remember a day on this planet without that kid, you know,” Weikel said.
The Navy, meanwhile, said Drablos was a sailor assigned to the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command.
In a statement, his family said they are “numb” and “devastated.”
“He was kind, loyal, intelligent, athletic, and he loved fiercely, especially his family and friends,” the family said. “Josh was the spark of imagination in our family, our energizer bunny. You never knew what he would build or buy at a great deal that would require constantly being repaired, but it was all in the name of entertaining his family and friends and having fun.”
Relatives said Tehero, of Kauai, graduated from Kauai High School and later served in the Army. He was a skydiving student working on getting jumps in so he could eventually become a videographer.
Tehero’s mother, Colleen, said she spoke to him hours before the crash. He told her he wanted to do a sunset jump because he’d never done one before.
“When I heard, it went on for at least six hours straight, just the wailing,” Tehero said. “I didn’t see anything, but I could hear the word ‘crash,’ and I was thinking to myself, I don’t want to know nothing. I didn’t want to hear it. It was hard cause you know, that’s my baby.”
While devastated, the Teheros say news from the Honolulu Medical Examiner has buoyed them.
They said they were told they’ll be able to bring their son’s body home ― and lay him to rest surrounded by loved ones. “Thinking of how it went, thinking I would never see my son again,” said Tehero’s father, Garret, “I’ll be able to send my son home, bring him back and see my son.”
Six of those killed in the crash were with Oahu Parachute Center.
Among them: Martin, a skydiving instructor who also taught kite surfing.
His girlfriend, Alex Nakao, visited a growing memorial near the crash site over the weekend. “He did get stressed out at work sometimes, but he loved what he did," she said. “He died doing what he loved.”
Other employees of the skydiving outfit killed in the crash: Casey Williamson and Larry LeMaster.
LeMaster, an Army veteran and expert skydiver, was once part of a group that does parachute performances on the mainland.
Team Fastrax members said on Facebook that Lemaster always had a smile.
“Larry served our nation ... and donated his time to share the great aspects for our sport by taking our combat injured warriors skydiving,” Team Fastrax said.
"Larry never met a stranger and made the lives of everyone he met better. The world lost a teacher of how to live life properly and we will miss him.”
His wife also shared her anguish in a post online.
“I don’t have an explanation for the utter tragedy that has happened," she wrote. “But Larry Lemaster would never want one person to waste a single minute of their life mourning his.”
Williamson, who was originally from Oklahoma, was remembered as an outgoing and friendly. A GoFundMe has been established to help transport his remains back to his mother on the mainland.
Also on the plane: Pilot Jerome Renck and Daniel Herndon, who was the videographer hired to document Oahu Parachute Center’s jumps.
Herndon’s sister loved his job and used to say he jumped out of perfectly good planes for a living. “He was fun and outgoing,” she said, adding he had just gotten married. “He made friends every where he went. We loved him very much and we are completely devastated.”
In all, 10 men and one woman died in the crash. The Medical Examiner’s Office said all of them died of “multiple blunt force injuries.”
This story will be updated.
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