Skydive crash couple leave behind six children

HARRY PEARL
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2014
Joey King and fiancee, former Hamilton woman Rahuia Hohua
DIED IN CRASH: Joey King and fiancee, former Hamilton woman Rahuia Hohua.

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A former Hamilton woman and mother of two was among five people killed in a fiery plane crash in Australia at the weekend.

Rahuia (Rahi) Hohua - whose Facebook page said she was originally from Hamilton - died with fiance Joey King and three others when their plane plunged into the ground shortly after taking off from the Caboolture Airfield, north of Brisbane, on Saturday.

Witnesses said the Cessna 206, which was owned by skydiving company, Adrenalin Skydivers Bribie, disintegrated in a fireball when it crashed - killing all on board.

Ms Hohua and Mr King - from Manurewa in Auckland - lived in Logan, Queensland, and had six children between them. Ms Hohua was a mother of two and Mr King a father of four.

Police have yet to release the names of the dead, but the three others on the plane were understood to be skydiving instructors Glenn Norman and Juraj Glesk and the pilot.

Hamilton-based family of Ms Hohua were too upset to comment last night, but Ms Hohua's brother told 3news that the accident was "crushing".

"My little sister who you just want to grab and hold and my brother-in-law - she's been there all my life," said Inia Hohua.

He said they were "beautiful people" and "infectious".

The couple had been together for a little over two years.

Just hours before the crash Mr King posted a chilling message on Facebook about his fear of skydiving.

"So I woke up this morning nervous as hell about the sky diving today," he wrote.

"I'm about to conquer my greatest fear. I love everyone lol."

At first his friends responded by jokingly asking him to leave them his speakers and one said "it was nice meeting u bro", then Ms Hohua joined the conversation.

"lol crack up boys", she wrote.

After bantering with his friends for two hours, Mr King made his final post."Thanx guyz except for Chuck lol", he wrote.

Within hours of the tragedy, the messages changed to ones of concern.

Then came confirmation that it was their plane that had gone down, prompting messages of "R.I.P".

Four Air Transport Safety Bureau crash investigators are working on the crash site and will examine the Cessna's mechanics, the flight controls, it's fuel situations, the impact of any crosswinds, maintenance and the pilot's history.

A preliminary report would be finished in 30 days and a more detailed report finished in 12 months.

Airport safety officer Bryan Carpenter said the plane veered to the left just after takeoff, plunging to the ground and being engulfed by flames within a minute of impact.

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Meanwhile, two men were killed in a pane crash in Hastings yesterday after it crashed into a riverbed.

Speaking at a press conference last night, Hawke's Bay and East Coast aeroclub president Bruce Govenlock confirmed a UK-trained pilot visiting New Zealand was flying the plane and an instructor was a passenger at the time of the crash.

A witness yesterday described watching as the small plane appeared to stall in a mid-air climb then nose dive with a "bang" in a devastating impact that killed two people.

The Civil Aviation Authority was now trawling trough the the wreckage to ascertain what happened.

Pilot Jeremy Bruce of the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter was the first to spot the small plane's wreckage after the downed Tomahawk's emergency locator signal alerted rescuers to its position.

Bruce said he spotted the plane nose-down with it's tail sticking out of a deep channel.

Bruce said yesterday's crash was another blow only days after the death of Donald Carlton Kain, 53, in a helicopter crash in Gisborne on Thursday.

Additional reporting Fairfax staff

harry.pearl@waikatotimes.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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