County Dealing with Loss in Wake of Lānaʻi Plane Crash
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By Wendy Osher
County officials say they are dealing with loss and grief in the wake of the deadly airplane crash on Lānaʻi that claimed the lives of a pilot and two Planning Department employees.
The three survivors of the crash, a deputy attorney with Corporation Counsel, and two other Planning Department employees were being treated for burns and injuries at the Queens Medical Center on Oʻahu.
We spoke with County Communications Director Rod Antone, who provided us with the following update:
Maui Now: Tell us what happened and what has transpired in the wake of last night’s plane crash on Lānaʻi.
Rod Antone: “Our people were there for a planning commission meeting. They were given an update to the Lanai Community Plan. They were on a chartered flight to come back and we got word that the plane had crashed.
One of our Corporation counsel attorneys had called 911 and had actually managed to pull some of his co-workers away from a fire that was started from the wreckage — there was a brush fire that had started.
The three were transported to the Queens Medical Center for treatment — two of them were in critical condition. The third, the corp counsel attorney who called 9-1-1 was listed in serious.
They continue to be treated at Queens for burns mostly to their face and hands from what we understand.”
MN: How is the county dealing with this… I’m sure you’re getting lots of inquires?
RA: “Lot of inquiries. You know, mayor is going to make some personal visits to the two departments involved — Planning and Corp Counsel, and we’ve got some grief counselors coming, I believe, a police chaplain and we’re just trying to provide some help for people.
I don’t know if we’ve decided for sure, but if people kind of need some time to absorb what happened, they can check with their supervisor and we might be able to provide some time off.”
MN: What are your thoughts for the families of both the survivors and the victims?
RA: “I don’t even know what they’re going through right now cause it’s hard enough for us as their colleagues and co-workers, and our hearts of course go out to them — and not just the family members of our deceased co-workers, but the family of the pilot who also died in the crash.
Our hearts go out to his family. And to our people who are in the hospital, we hope for a speedy recovery, and we hope that we see them soon.”
A press conference in which Mayor Alan Arakawa is scheduled to speak has been moved back from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27.
***Please check back for full video coverage from the mayor’s press conference to be posted at MauiNow.com.