Skydiver of previous wreck on Hawaii plane 'extremely upset'

AP

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  • This Sunday, June 23, 2019, photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows NTSB investigator Eliott Simpson briefing NTSB Board Member Jennifer Homendy at the scene of the Hawaii skydiving crash in Oahu, Hawaii. No one aboard survived the crash, which left a small pile of smoky wreckage near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield about an hour north of Honolulu. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

  • 1

    In this Friday, June 21, 2019 photo, part of the wreckage of a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air plane lies on the ground after a fatal crash near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia, Hawaii, just off Farrington Highway. No one aboard survived the crash of the skydiving plane which killed multiple people. The flight was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center skydiving company. The red ladders in the foreground were used to get access to the crash site over the fence. (Bruce Asato/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 2

    A Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed Friday evening killing multiple people and leaving wreckage near a chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield seen Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Mokuleia, Hawaii. No one aboard the skydiving plane survived the crash. The flight was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center skydiving company. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 3

    A memorial is seen at the site where a Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed Friday evening killing multiple people near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia, Hawaii. Police and sheriffs patrol the area. No one aboard survived the skydiving plane crash. The flight was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center skydiving company. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 4

    Brian Raley places large flowers and leaves as part of a memorial at the site where a Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed killing multiple people Friday evening near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield, Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Mokuleia, Hawaii. At left, a good friend of Raley (she didn't want to give her name) and of the people who perished in the plane grieves for them. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 5

    This is the site where a Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed Friday evening killing multiple people seen on Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Mokuleia, Hawaii. No one aboard survived the skydiving plane crash, which left a small pile of smoky wreckage near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield, a one-runway seaside airfield. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • This Sunday, June 23, 2019, photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows NTSB investigator Eliott Simpson briefing NTSB Board Member Jennifer Homendy at the scene of the Hawaii skydiving crash in Oahu, Hawaii. No one aboard survived the crash, which left a small pile of smoky wreckage near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield about an hour north of Honolulu. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

  • 1

    In this Friday, June 21, 2019 photo, part of the wreckage of a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air plane lies on the ground after a fatal crash near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia, Hawaii, just off Farrington Highway. No one aboard survived the crash of the skydiving plane which killed multiple people. The flight was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center skydiving company. The red ladders in the foreground were used to get access to the crash site over the fence. (Bruce Asato/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 2

    A Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed Friday evening killing multiple people and leaving wreckage near a chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield seen Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Mokuleia, Hawaii. No one aboard the skydiving plane survived the crash. The flight was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center skydiving company. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 3

    A memorial is seen at the site where a Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed Friday evening killing multiple people near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia, Hawaii. Police and sheriffs patrol the area. No one aboard survived the skydiving plane crash. The flight was operated by the Oahu Parachute Center skydiving company. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 4

    Brian Raley places large flowers and leaves as part of a memorial at the site where a Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed killing multiple people Friday evening near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield, Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Mokuleia, Hawaii. At left, a good friend of Raley (she didn't want to give her name) and of the people who perished in the plane grieves for them. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

  • 5

    This is the site where a Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane crashed Friday evening killing multiple people seen on Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Mokuleia, Hawaii. No one aboard survived the skydiving plane crash, which left a small pile of smoky wreckage near the chain link fence surrounding Dillingham Airfield, a one-runway seaside airfield. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) A man who was involved in a terrifying 2016 skydiving accident on the same plane that crashed and killed 11 people in Hawaii on Friday says he wishes he could have done more to prevent the tragedy.

"Frankly I was just upset. I was extremely upset," Achal Asawa, 29, an experienced skydiver from the San Francisco Bay area, told The Associated Press on Monday. "The first thing that came to my mind was could there have been anything else I could have done back then to prevent this from happening in Hawaii."

Asawa was aboard the same plane three years ago when it stalled and went into a spinning nosedive. He and several other skydivers were able to open the door and jump to safety.

Asawa said skydiving is generally safe, but participants need to be able to trust the aircrafts they fly in.

"When any skydiver is getting on a plane we are assuming that the plane is going to function as it is expected to," Asawa said. "That assumption is based on the trust we place on the government and whoever is responsible for making sure that these planes are functioning."

He hopes that the accident he was involved in three years ago has nothing to do with Friday's crash, but thinks regulators, inspectors and operators may need to do more to ensure safety.

"Whatever is required to make sure that trust does not break," he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday called on the Federal Aviation Administration to tighten its regulations governing parachute operations after the Hawaii crash.

The NTSB recommended to the FAA more than a decade ago that it strengthen its rules on pilot training, aircraft maintenance and inspection, and FAA oversight, board member Jennifer Homendy told a news conference in Honolulu.

She said the FAA hasn't acted on those recommendations.

"Are we trying to put the FAA on notice for this? Yes," Homendy said. "We identified several safety concerns in 2008 with respect to parachute jump operations. Accidents continue to happen. There have been fatalities since that time."

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in a statement that safety is the agency's top priority.

"The FAA takes NTSB recommendations very seriously, and implemented a number of changes to address recommendations the NTSB made about parachuting operations," the statement said.

Of the 2016 accident, Asawa said nothing was out of the ordinary until the plane made an abnormally slow, steep turn and went into a spinning nosedive.

The plane stalled three times and spun repeatedly as skydivers on board struggled to jump out. The force created by the rotation of the plane pinned them down, Asawa said.

"All I wanted to do was raise my hands up," he recalled. "The forces were so strong that I didn't have the amount of strength required to just raise my hands."

He said everyone around him was trying to save themselves. Asawa took video of the accident that shows the plane spinning and nosediving toward the ground after he and other skydivers bailed out.

As he made his descent, a piece of debris from the plane can be seen slicing through the air beneath him.

The National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error in that accident. Its investigation said the plane lost a piece of horizontal stabilizer and its elevator broke off. Investigators also concluded the plane was too heavily weighted toward the back, which was also blamed on the pilot.

The pilot managed to land the plane safely after everyone else escaped. The aircraft was then repaired before being sent to Oahu and flown again.

"We will be looking at the quality of those repairs and whether it was inspected and whether it was airworthy," the NTSB's Homendy said Sunday.

Since the accident, Asawa had only seen the plane in photos posted by skydiving buddies online.

"I saw pictures of some of my friends who went to Hawaii and took a picture with the plane," Asawa said.

"I was under the impression that the plane is 100% fixed," he said. "Until this incident happened."

When the plane crashed on Friday, it became the deadliest civil aviation accident in the United States since a 2011.

Seven of the 11 victims from Friday's crash have been identified by city officials. There were 10 men and one woman aboard the plane, which was operated by Oahu Parachute Center on the island's North Shore.

    

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