Fatal Hawaii skydiving plane crash renews NTSB's call for stricter rules: 'Accidents continue to happen'

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A skydiving plane that crashed Friday in Hawaii, killing 11 people, was involved in a terrifying midair incident three years ago in California. The 2016 sky diving incident was captured on camera by one of the skydivers aboard. (June 24) AP, AP

A federal safety official put aircraft regulators on notice Monday, calling for further regulations on parachute operations after a skydiving plane crash in Hawaii killed 11 people.

The National Transportation Safety Board identified safety concerns more than a decade ago, but board member Jennifer Homendy said the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t acted. 

“Are we trying to put the FAA on notice for this? Yes,” Homendy said at a news conference. “Accidents continue to happen. There have been fatalities since that time.”

The board has recorded 80 accidents and 19 deaths involving skydiving flights since it made rule recommendations in 2008 on pilot training, aircraft maintenance and inspection and FAA oversight, Homendy said. 

Investigation: Skydiving plane in Hawaii crash was involved in previous terrifying incident

The FAA disputed those claims, saying it responded to the recommendations by revising safety guidance for parachute operators and increasing safety outreach. It also required safety inspectors to monitor parachute operations, the FAA said in a statement. 

Monday’s exchange came three days after a skydiving plane crashed shortly after takeoff on the north shore of Oahu island, killing all 11 aboard. It marked the most deadly civil aviation accident in the United States since 2011. 

The Hawaii Medical Examiner is still confirming the identities of the victims. Officials released the names of seven victims on Monday: 

  • Joshua Drablos, 27, of Virginia and stationed in Hawaii with the U.S. Navy
  • Nikolas Glenov, 28, of St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Ashley Weikel, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Bryan Weikel, 27, of Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Daniel Herndon, 35, of Hawaii 
  • Michael Martin, 32, of Hawaii
  • Jordan Tehero, 23, of Kauai island

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Relatives said Ashley and Bryan Weikel were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Bryan’s brother, Kenneth Reed, told KCNC-TV he texted his brother multiple times after the scheduled jump but didn’t hear back from him.

He searched online for skydiving in Hawaii and saw a headline about the crash, the station reported. 

A preliminary report on the crash is expected in about two weeks. The final report, which will include the cause of the accident, could take up to two years, the NTSB said. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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