A pilot of a plane owned by Skydive Kaua‘i called for an emergency landing and told four skydivers to jump early on Monday morning, according to a county news release. The same company had an accident in May 2016, when five people died in a fiery crash. This week, all five onboard the plane survived the incident without injuries.
At approximately 9:50 a.m. Monday, emergency responders were notified of a mayday call from Skydive Kaua‘i. The company was conducting a skydive tour when the pilot of the plane reported a mechanical issue at 4,000 feet above Hanapēpē town. According to a preliminary police report, the pilot instructed the four passengers — a male instructor with a female tandem jumper on one parachute, and a female instructor with a male tandem jumper on a second parachute — to exit the aircraft.
The basic skydiving altitude for tandem jumps is between 10,000 and 13,000 feet above ground level, and the fall takes approximately 45-60 seconds before deploying the parachute between 3,000 and 5,000 feet, according to the United States Parachute Association. The minimum deployment altitude in the USPA Basic Safety Requirements for D-License holders — required for tandem instructors — is 2,500 feet.
All four parachute jumpers deployed and landed safely without injuries, according to county officials. The pilot declared an emergency landing, and safely landed the plane at Port Allen Airport without incident.
Following the mayday call, rescue specialists aboard Air 1 located the female jump-instructor with her passenger in a remote, grassy area near Hanapēpē Valley. They were transported via Air 1 back to the Skydive Kaua‘i office in Hanapēpē.
The male jump-instructor and his passenger landed safely at ‘Ele‘ele Elementary School and returned to Skydive Kaua‘i via a private vehicle.
No injuries were reported, and all individuals were released at the scene after being assessed by awaiting medics.
On May 23, 2016, a Cessna 182H owned by Skydive Kaua‘i crashed shortly after taking off at about 9:30 a.m. All five onboard the plane died — 30-year-old pilot Damien Horan, skydive instructors Wayne Rose and Enzo Amitrano and two brothers, Phillip and Marshall Cabe of Oklahoma. A final investigation by the National Transportation and Safety Board was released just a year ago, in November 2017, and it blamed the crash on a loss of control of the aircraft due to engine failure.