North America

Aust officials check Hawaii plane crash

A skydiving plane crashed and burned on Hawaii's Oahu island, killing all 11 people on board. (AAP)

US authorities initially believed nine people died in the crash, but the toll was raised to 11 victims.

Australian officials are checking whether Australians are among the victims of a horror skydiving plane crash in Hawaii that killed 11 people.

The plane was operated by the Oahu Parachute Centre, a skydiving company popular with tourists visiting Hawaii.

The plane crashed and burst into flames just after takeoff from a small seaside airfield on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Authorities initially reported that nine people died in the crash on Friday evening and that three of them were customers of a skydiving company and six were employees.

But the Hawaii Department of Transportation tweeted on Saturday that officials later "confirmed there were 11 people on board the plane" and no survivors.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the Australian Consulate-General in Honolulu is making inquiries.

"At this time, we are not aware of any Australians being affected," the DFAT spokesperson said.

The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air plane took off from Dillingham Airfield on the north shore of the island.

The ratio of employees to customers suggested that tandem jumps may have been planned in which the customers would have jumped while attached to experienced skydivers, Tim Sakahara, a spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Transportation, told reporters on Saturday.

Honolulu fire chief Manuel Neves described the site of the crash near the airport's perimeter as being "quite a ways away from the runway" and said some family members of those aboard were at the airport when the plane went down at 6.30pm

"In my 40 years as a firefighter here in Hawaii, this is the most tragic aircraft incident that we've had," Mr.Neves said.

He said the plane was engulfed in flames when firefighters made it to the crash site about an hour's drive from Honolulu.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

The plane with two turboprop engines was manufactured in 1967, FAA records said.

The phone for Oahu Parachute Centre went unanswered on Saturday.

On its website, the company says the jumps that it offers on Hawaii are "a magical experience. There really is no better place in the world to skydive." Its tandem jumps are listed for prices ranging from $170 to $250.

Videos from the company's Facebook page show jumps from the same Beechcraft King Air that crashed, with customers strapped to employees and dropping from a side door of the aircraft from 3000 metres or higher, with the Pacific Ocean and the Oahu's green mountains far below.

Dillingham Airfield is used mostly for skydiving and glider flights. Hawaii shares the airfield with the Army, which uses it for helicopter night-vision training.

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