Family, friends gather to celebrate lives of Kunia plane crash victims

Celebration of life held for Kunia plane crash victims
Published: Aug. 12, 2017 at 2:25 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 12, 2017 at 10:34 AM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

MAGIC ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Family and friends gathered at Magic Island Friday to remember the four who died in last month's plane crash in Kunia.

Those who attended wore white. They brought food and flowers, sang songs and meditated.

After the sun had set, organizers held a fire transmission ceremony and one by one, people dropped hand-written notes and prayers into a pot which was then lit on fire.

They said the smoke would carry their messages to their friends in heaven.

"This event is a rite of passage," said Jonathan Fritzler, event organizer. " It's designed to walk our community through a process of transformation, to really hold space for us and experience the mourning, but to celebrate their life and to dance and sing together."

The memorial ceremony marked two weeks since Dean Hutton, Alexis Aaron, Heather Riley and Gerrit Evensen hopped on a plane for a sunset flight and never returned.

Their bodies and the plane's wreckage were discovered in the mountains above Kunia the next day on July 29th.

"I'm just super honored to have known them," said Amanda Pollotta, who was friends with Riley and Evensen.

"This is a reminder to not hold grudges and to love and forgive each other, you never know what will happen," Jai Rodgers said, another good friend of the victims.

On Saturday, the celebration of life will continue with a memorial paddle out and the spreading of ashes at Kalama Beach in Kailua.

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