- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 5, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) - A single-engine aircraft that crashed in a mountainous area on Oahu, killing all four people on board last year, was over its weight limit when it took off, according to federal investigators.

A report by the National Transportation Safety Board found that the Beech 19A airplane was overweight by 61 pounds (28 kilograms) when it crashed in July 2017 near Waipio.

An examination of the aircraft wreckage showed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or other failures that would have hindered normal operations, according to recently made public NTSB documents.

“The detrimental effects of overloading on performance are not limited to the immediate hazards involved with takeoffs and landings,” the report stated. “Overloading has an adverse effect on all climb and cruise performance, which leads to overheating during climbs, added wear on engine parts, increased fuel consumption, slower cruising speeds, and reduced range.”

The plane, which was manufactured in 1969, took off from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and headed northwest. The 29-year-old pilot made three loops in the air before crashing at the remote Pohakea Pass about 15 minutes after takeoff from Honolulu, according to the report.

Aaron Alder told investigators that he saw the plane flying low over a mountain. The plane made a turn and went out of his view. He heard the engine and then a “boom,” which was followed by silence, he told investigators.

The Coast Guard located the wreckage the next day in a steep area. The plane had crashed into densely-vegetated terrain about 50 feet (15 meters) below a ridge.

The bodies of pilot Dean Hutton and his passengers, Heather Riley, 27, Alexis Aaron, 32, and Gerrit Evensen, 28, were recovered the day after the crash.

The wreckage was left at the crash site in the state-owned Honouliuli Forest Reserve.

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