News Plane Crashes — 30 July 2017

Four bodies were recovered today at the wreckage of a small private plane that crashed in the Waianae mountains above Kunia, authorities said.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew at about 3 p.m. spotted the wreckage of the 1969 Beech 19A — a fixed-wing, single-engine, four-seater plane — that was reported missing with four people on board, officials said.

Honolulu Fire Capt. Kendall Ching said four bodies were discovered in the area of the Palikea and Pohakea trails.

HFD and police set up a base at the Honolulu Country Club on Kunia Road in Wahiawa and the HFD helicopter recovered the bodies one by one from below the ridgeline this evening. Several women had arrived earlier and were consoling each other behind an area that police had cordoned off.

Fire officials said the bodies of two men and two women were recovered this evening.

Heather Riley and Gerrit Evensen

Heather Riley and Gerrit Evensen

A spokeswoman for Lyssa Chapman, from TV’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter”, identified the four victims as Chapman’s friend, Gerrit Evensen, a 28-year-old Punahou alum, his girlfriend Heather Riley, 27, and their friends Dean Hutton, who was piloting the plane, and Alexis Aaron.

The four took off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Friday for a sunset flight but never returned. Hutton last communicated with air traffic control at 6:37 p.m. Friday, according to spokeswoman Mona Wood-Sword.

“The families are understandably distraught,” and asking for the public’s prayers, Wood-Sword said in a statement. Lyssa Chapman is the daughter of Duane “Dog” Chapman.

Lyssa Chapman and Lei Evensen, Gerrit Evensen’s sister, reported the foursome as missing after discovering their car on Lagoon Drive today.

Coast Guard District 14 spokeswoman Amanda Lavasseur said the report of the missing two-door plane came from the airport at 10 a.m. and the Coast Guard deployed its MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Barbers Point.

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HFD officials said the Coast Guard reported about 3 p.m. that the wreckage had been spotted in the mountains above the Kunia farm lots. Fire department personnel could not hike to the site or reach it by vehicle so they repelled in via helicopter, HFD officials said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the “round-robin pleasure flight” crashed under “unknown circumstances.” FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Kenitzer said.

According to the FAA registration site, the plane was owned by John P. Mueller, who owns Aircraft Maintenance and Flight School Hawaii on Lagoon Drive. Mueller did not return a call to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today.

FAA records confirm that he was also the owner of the single-engine Piper PA298 airplane that crashed-landed beneath Moanalua Freeway June 30 seriously injuring three people. That plane was registered to Jahn P. Mueller, but the post office boxes on the FAA site were the same. Kenitzer said he could not comment on the results of that investigation.

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