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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:15 a.m., Tuesday, March 14, 2006

NTSB releases preliminary crash report

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Witnesses to a fatal air ambulance crash told the federal aviation investigators they saw the plane's wings wobble several times before it plummeted into a car dealership in Kahului, according to a preliminary report released today by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Although brief, the report on the March 9 accident is the first formal description of the crash that killed pilot Peter Miller, 32, of Kailua; assistant chief flight nurse Brien Eisaman, 37, of Waipahu; and Marlena Yomes, 39, a mobile intensive care technician from Wai'anae.

They were flying in a Hawaii Air Ambulance Cessna 414A to Maui to transport a critically ill patient to O'ahu.

The twin-engine plane was flying "very low, between 100 and 300 feet" over Kahului about one mile west of the airport when witnesses noticed trouble, the report stated.

"The wings were wobbling at times and the airplane rolled up to 60 degrees angle of bank at other times," the report stated. "All witnesses said they heard engine noises that they associated with an engine or engines operating at high power, and saw the landing and position lights on."

The wings continued to wobble and witnesses said they saw the plane "drop straight down out of the sky."

It slammed into a BMW dealership, sending a huge fireball into the air. The crash occurred at 7:13 p.m.