Wed, May 03, 2006
Was Company Operating Illegal Air Taxi Operation?
A Hawaiian company that lost a plane
on the island of Molokai Sunday may have been illegally operating
the Partenavia P68 Observer as an air taxi, according to the
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus told the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin that the twin-engine aircraft (file photo of
type, right), owned by the Tora Flight Adventure Club, wasn't
certified for Part 135 flight when it took off from a private strip
in West Molokai -- banked sharply to the right -- and went
The pilot and four Japanese tourists onboard were all were
injured, with one of the passengers still listed as
critical and another in serious condition.
"Just by looking at the plane, it was hard to believe the people
survived," fire Capt. Travis Tancayo told the Honolulu
Star-Bulletin. Crews who responded to the scene report the fuselage
was almost completely crushed by the impact.
Residents in the area told investigators they've seen the plane
bringing in tourist groups daily -- and some of them have expressed
worries in the past.
The NTSB is investigating Sunday's mishap -- while the FAA
conducts a separate investigation into the Part 135 issue.
"The overall crash, as well as this particular [air taxi] issue,
is being investigated," Fergus said.
Tora Flight Adventures declined comment to the
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