Parents sue skydiving company

HONOLULU —The parents of two Oklahoma brothers who were among five people who died in a crash are suing the skydiving company that owned the plane.

Marshall, 25, and Phillip Cabe, 27, were about to go skydiving in May with Skydive Kauai when a single-engine Cessna 182H crashed and burned soon after taking off from the Port Allen airport in Hanapepe.

Honolulu attorney Rick Fried said the lawsuit, filed in the 1st circuit, is so that parents can get closure on why the plane’s engine failed.

“On May 23, Michael Cabe took his two sons to the Port Allen airport, so they could go skydiving as a present for graduating from college,” Fried said. “The last thing he expected was to drag them out of a burning plane only to see them die in his arms. This lawsuit is about trying to find out what happened with the plane’s engine.”

Skydive Kauai is registered to and operated by D & J Air Adventures, Inc. Three planes, including the Cessna 182H, 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 year.

David Timko, the owner of D&J Adventures, did not respond to requests for comment, but the company resumed operations two and half weeks after the fatal accident. It had voluntarily paused operations out of respect for the families, Timko told The Garden Island in June.

In the six-page complaint, Michael Cabe and Laura Bettis — the mother of the brothers — allege negligence and fault against D&J Adventures and David Timko. They are seeking general and punitive damages to be proven at trial.

The pilot, Damien Horan, 30, and skydiving instructors Enzo Amitrano, 43, and Wayne Rose, 26, also died in the crash, which remains under investigation.

The brothers had both graduated from college recently, and their father Michael Cabe was giving them the joint skydiving trip as a present, Fried said.

The father, a general contractor on Kauai, ran to the burning wreckage and tried to pull them out while administering CPR.

Marshall Cabe, 25, was an athlete who played rugby, soccer and softball, Fried said. His brother Phillip Cabe, 27, was an artist who painted and played piano and guitar. He was in the Air National Guard and had deployed to the Middle East.

The brothers graduated from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, in December.

They had a close bond, their mother Laura Bettis, a bank manager in Oklahoma, said through tears.

“They were just out of college. They had their whole lives ahead of them,” Fried said. “The father witnessing this, you can’t imagine what he went through having seen that. It was just horrific.”

Officials said a complete investigation could take up to a year to complete.

According to a preliminary report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Cessna 182H, which was built in 1965, had just taken off from the Port Allen Airport about 9:30 a.m. on May 23, when it “made a sudden right turn, descended” and crashed.

The plane, which reached 150 feet, caught fire after it hit the ground, the report said.

A spokesperson with the NTSB could not be reached for comment Monday.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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