A skydiving plane crashed during takeoff near the north shore of the island on Friday and claimed the lives of 11 people. The fiery crash occurred at the Dillingham Airfield and was the worst air disaster in Oahu history. 10 of the 11 victims have been identified so far.
“In my 40 years as a fire fighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident that we had,” said Chief Manuel Nieves of the Honolulu Fire Department. “We had some helicopters [crash] with military, but this is a civilian plane with that many people on board.”
You can find a full list of the victims who have been identified so far, below.
Justin Kepa told Hawaii News Now that he was out near Kaena Point when he saw the plane go down. “We saw big smoke. We saw big fire, firemen trying to put it out. Crazy,” he said. The victims’ families were also at Dillingham Airfield and witnessed the disaster as the plane caught fire and crashed shortly after takeoff. A witness caught video of the wreckage right after the crash occurred.
According to KITV 4 News in Hawaii, the medical examiner said the cause of death for all 11 victims was “blunt force trauma”.
These are the victims that have been identified so far:
Casey Williamson was a videographer originally from Oklahoma City. He moved from Moab, Utah to Oahu, Hawaii in December 2017 and started his job at the Oahu Parachute Center. He was a traveler, living in Vail, Colorado, Moab Utah, and Oahu all in the same year. He filmed several videos for the Oahu Parachute Center page and may have been a painter judging from his Instagram handle (@caseydalepaints) although the account has been deleted.
His cousin Chassidy Walker started a GoFundMe page to help his mother, who still lives in Oklahoma, pay for his funeral costs. According to the GoFundMe page, Casey was an only child and ” lived every day with a smile that went on for days.”
Mike Martin was a skydiving instructor who lived in Haleiwa on the north shore of Oahu and was originally from Palm Bay, Florida. In addition to being a skydiving instructor, he was an avid surfer and fisherman.
According to a tribute by his friend Brian Jones on Facebook, Mike was a “dare devil, a wild man and a great friend since the day I met you” Mike bought a puppy for them during their friendship and inspired Brian to start following his passion of painting. The comments on the post are filled with friends mourning the loss of their friend. “Oh Mike so full of life and adventure..dam you lived a good life and I’m sorry you are gone ?? for the families and friends ?” said user Jenna Murad
Larry Lemaster was a professional skydiving instructor and Army veteran with more than 3,000 jumps under his belt. He was originally from Russell, Kentucky and was formerly the General Manager at Skydive NRG in West Virginia and a member of Team Fastrax, a professional Skydiving team based out of Columbus, OH. Team Fastrax posted a tribute to Larry on Facebook, “Our hearts are broken! Our brother, our friend, our teammate, Larry Lemaster was killed in yesterday’s tragic aircraft accident in Hawaii”
His wife, Anna Elkins, posted an emotional tribute to Larry on Friday, “Larry Lemaster would never want one person to waste a single minute of their life mourning his. He was doing what he loved. We spoke about this on many occasions.” she wrote “Today is the worst day of my life. My son has lost his father… He wants you to celebrate his life and your own. Love who you love with great intensity. Do what makes you happy. Be the person you want to be because obviously tomorrow is not guaranteed,”
Larry and Anna had one son together, Gunner McLovin Lemaster.
Jordan Tehero was a former skydiving instructor and U.S. Army veteran from the island of Kauai. According to his Facebook page, Tehero has 3 brothers, Chad, Isaac, and Kapena, who are all currently living in Kauai. He attended Kauai High and Intermediate School and graduated in 2013 before joining the military.
He was an avid surfer, hiker, and videographer, posting GoPro videos from across the islands that showcase him on the “Stairway to Heaven” hike, body surfing, and skydiving on the North Shore of Oahu.
He was an experienced skydiver and was on the plane as one of the instructors.
Joshua Drablos, 27, was a Sailor for U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from Forest, VA. He was confirmed aboard the aircraft by the National Transportation Safety Board and confirmed dead by a local medical examiner. He was on the plane as part of a skydiving excursion.
Joshua was a talented track and field athlete and competed in the pole vault at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 2015 with a degree in Systems Engineering.
Joshua is the son of Dave and Gaynor Drablos and has a brother, Jon, who is a member of the track and field team at Liberty.
Bryan and Ashley Weikel
Bryan and Ashley Weikel were a recently married couple from Colorado Springs, CO that were in Hawaii to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. Bryan worked at Aerus, a company that sells air purifiers, and Ashley graduated from the Metropolitan State College of Denver with a degree in Psychology.
Bryan is survived by his family Kathy Weikel-Gerk, and his siblings, Kenneth Reed and Adrienne Keller and their chocolate Labrador, Dom. The Weikel family told CBS 4 Denver that “Bryan as a man who was always trying to make others laugh, while also proving his devout love for his wife. Bryan and Ashley were in love for more than 10 years.”
Bryan’s mother said “They wanted to go so bad,” and that she “begged him to not go skydiving. I begged him not to go.” The last thing they saw from Bryan was a Snapchat video that showed the skydiving plane landing to pick them up. After not hearing from him for a few hours, his brother, Kenneth, Googled “skydiving Hawaii” and “The first thing that popped up was the headline that a plane had crashed. I just knew right then,” he said. “It is hard to stand back up from something like that.”
Jermoe Renck was the French pilot of the skydiving plane that crashed on Friday. Speaking to People, his brother Quentin said Renck was a corporate businessman who left his job to pursue his dream of being a pilot.
“Jerome had an MBA from one of the most prestigious business schools in France, and did exchange programs with prestigious universities in the U.S. He worked in finance in London for many years and decided to quit that life to start fresh,” Quentin said.
Jerome traveled the world for a year and a half before pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot. “He loved his new life. He loved Hawaii and had made great human connections there.” Said Quentin.
Daniel Herndon was one of the skydiving instructors at the Oahu Parachute Center who passed away in the plane crash. His Facebook profile says he was a “Videographer, Coach, AFF Instructor, IAD Instructor, Tandem Instructor, and occasionally Tandem or sport rig packer.” who formerly worked at Skydive Airtight in Oklahoma before moving to Haleiwa, Hawaii.
He was originally from Wagoner, OK and studied Mechanical Engineering at Oklahoma State University.
Nikolas Glebov was a 28-year-old man from St. Paul, Minnesota who was visiting Oahu on Vacation. He currently works on an NOAA research ship in Alaska and went skydiving on his last day of vacation. There is currently a GoFundMe page set up that’s accepting donations to help pay for funeral costs. According to the page, he was on a one month break and decided to spend his entire vacation in Hawaii. His mother told him not to go skydiving to which he responded, “I am not on a vacation in Hawaii, I am on an exploration of Hawaii.”
Hailing originally from Ukraine, He is survived by his mother Lana Mostad, and his sister, Diana Glebova.