HANAPEPE — Kauai emergency responders used Air 1 to retrieve a pair of tandem skydivers from a Hanapepe field Monday morning, but the reason for the unlikely landing is being disputed by the company.
Kauai Fire Department issued a press release Tuesday alerting of “an emergency landing of a plane owned by Skydive Kauai on Monday morning, in which four parachute jumpers deployed and landed safely without injuries.”
The release continues: “The company was conducting a skydive tour when the pilot of the plane reported a mechanical issue at 4,000 feet above Hanapepe Town.”
Skydive Kauai owner Dave Timko, however, told The Garden Island in a phone interview on Tuesday there were no mechanical issues with the airplane and skydive operations continued as usual within 15 minutes of the airplane landing at Port Allen Airport.
“It’s a nonissue,” Timko said. “Everybody’s safe, there were no injuries, there were no mechanical issues with the plane.”
According to the Kauai Fire Department release, emergency responders were notified of a mayday call from Skydive Kauai at 9:50 a.m. Monday.
The preliminary police report says 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.
One set of tandem skydivers landed safely at Ele’ele Elementary School and returned to Skydive Kauai via a private vehicle. The other set landed in a grassy Hanapepe Valley field, according to KFD.
Skydive Kauai, however, said the jumpers simply didn’t hit their mark — usually they land in a grassy field just outside of Skydive Kauai near Port Allen Airport — and that does happen on rare occasions.
“I’m glad she (the female instructor) picked the field instead of dealing with houses and power lines in Hanapepe,” Timko said Tuesday.
No injuries were reported, and all individuals were released at the scene after being assessed by medics, according to KFD.
In May 2016, a Skydive Kauai plane crashed and five people died at the Port Allen Airport — a pilot, two skydive instructors, and two tandem jumpers, according to the report about the incident from KFD.
A year and a half later, the National Transportation Safety Board announced the defining event in the crash was “loss of control in flight.”
The report on the crash did not cite a cause, but did say an airframe and engine examination “did not reveal evidence of any preexisting mechanical malfunction.”
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or email@example.com.