LIHUE — The owner of plane that crashed during a skydiving tour last month and killed five people said the business resumed operations Thursday morning.
Skydive Kauai took multiple people up starting about 7 a.m., said David Timko, owner.
“After a couple of weeks of deep thought, coupled with a tremendous outpouring of support from the Kauai community and tourists from near and far, Skydive Kauai has made a decision to return to the beautiful skies over Kauai,” Timko said in a statement Thursday. “Our friends we lost are close to our hearts and never far from our thoughts nor are their families and loved ones. Kauai’s skies have been our home for over 11 years and we want to continue to share our passion and love with our beloved community as well as our visiting friends.”
Alan Faye, grandfather of Marshall and Phillip Cabe, brothers who died in the May 23 skydiving tour, said he doesn’t believe Timko should reopen the business.
“I don’t agree with it,” he said. “I think they should complete the investigation before they go on.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the agency, which regulates civil aviation, did not request that the tour operator pause operations during its investigation.
“We have taken no action,” Kenitzer said. “If their operations have ceased, then it was voluntary on their part.”
Kenitzer said the FAA is investigating the crash, along with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Peter Knudson, spokesman for the NTSB, said a final report could take a year to complete.
“An investigator then uses the facts in the report to complete his analysis to determine its probable cause,” Knudson said.
According to preliminary report released by the NTSB earlier this month, a Cessna 182H, departed the Port Allen airport at 9:22 a.m. and shortly after takeoff, at roughly 150 feet above the ground, the airplane made a “sudden right turn, descended, and impacted terrain”, crashed and burned.
The pilot, Damien Horan, 30, and the four passengers — skydive instructors Enzo Amitrano, 43, and Wayne Rose, 26, and Marshall Cabe, 25, and Phillip Cabe, 27 — died in the crash.
Skydive Kauai is registered to and operated by D & J Air Adventures, Inc. The plane involved in the crash was built in 1965. Three planes other planes are registered to D&J Air Adventures.
FAA has no record of accidents, incidents or reinforcements with Skydive Kauai, said Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for FAA Pacific Division earlier this month.