Church service for skydiving pair
A church service will be held in Manurewa in South Auckland tonight for the Kiwi parents of six who died in a fiery skydiving plane crash in Australia.
Rahuia (Rahi) Hohua, whose Facebook page says 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.
Hohua and King, of Manurewa, lived in Logan, Queensland, and had six children between them. Hohua was a mother of two and 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, Juraj Glesk and the pilot.
King's uncle, Maurice King, who is flying to Australia tonight, told 3News that his nephew was a real thrillseeker. The skydiving trip was to have been the couple's big adventure before they got married.
Hundreds were expected at the church service, 3News reported.
The Australian national skydiving regulator will launch its own investigation into the plane crash.
Australian Parachute Federation spokesman Grahame Hill said the regulator would assist the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau and the Queensland coroner to investigate how the Cessna 206 crashed and exploded in flames.
"This is essentially an air crash, where just happened to be parachuters on board. Still, we have a duty to investigate any accident that involves our members," Hill said.
"Accidents happen and we don't want our members hurt and that's why we look into it to see why did it happen and how can we stop it happening again."
The APF investigation would also look into whether the skydiving operator, Adrenalin Skydiving Pty Ltd, had been complying with safety regulations, he said.
Logan Mayor Pam Parker said the community had rallied behind the Hohua, King and Norman families, as they were residents of the city.
"It is a huge tragedy and I think it's yet to really hit home," Parker said.
"The one thing we do particularly well in Logan when there are tragedies ... our community spirit comes to the fore and I have no doubt that it will again in this instance."