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Surviving Passenger of Lāna‘i Plane Crash Issues Statement

Lānaʻi plane crash site, photo courtesy Hawaii News Now. [1]

Lānaʻi plane crash site, photo courtesy Hawaii News Now.

By Maui Now Staff

The surviving passenger who is credited with pulling two others from the burning wreckage of Wednesday’s plane crash on Lāna‘i has released a statement to reassure family and friends of his condition.

Although he was last reported to be in serious condition, Deputy Corporation Counsel James Grioux said he wants to let concerned family and friends know that his injuries are not life-threatening, and he is recovering.

His thoughts were conveyed in a statement released by the County of Maui.  The complete text is provided below:

“Due to the widespread use of social media, one of the three surviving passengers on the plane that crashed last night on Lāna‘i issued a statement today. Because his name has been mentioned numerous times in the news and in social media, James Giroux, Deputy Corporation Counsel with the County Maui, asked the media to help reassure his family members and friends. He would like to let them know that he does not have life-threatening injuries, and that he is recovering.”

N483VA photographed departing Kahului on August 13, 2007.  The FAA identified the plane in a preliminary report as the one that crashed on Wednesday. Photo credit; OGGTurbojets [2]

N483VA photographed departing Kahului on August 13, 2007. The FAA identified the plane in a preliminary report as the one that crashed on Wednesday. Photo credit; OGGTurbojets

Giroux is credited with pulling two other survivors from the burning wreckage. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the names [3] of the two other survivors and identified them as a planner Doug Miller, and GIS analyst Mark King, both of whom were last listed in critical condition.

“We may have had more casualties if one of the survivors had not been able to move the other two away from the flames. He was also the one who called 9-1-1 as soon as he was able, which enabled the emergency crews to attend to the injured quickly,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Sources tell Maui Now that the Planning Department employees killed in the crash were Kathleen Kern and Tremaine Balberdi.

“One of them was a long-time employee who worked for us for decades. The other was a bright young planner who was dedicated to her job in serving the public,” said Arakawa as he held back tears [4] during a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

County Communications Director Rod Antone said that while many media sources are already privy to names of victims, he said the county cannot confirm the information at this time citing police procedures for identification.

Media sources have reported the identity of the pilot as Richard “Dick” Rooney, of Maui Air.

According to the Maui-based Maui Air – Volcano Air Tours website, the  airline operates three twin-engine, 10 seat, Piper Chieftain airplanes. Company representatives tell us they airline had a 20 year perfect safety record.