Tragedy on Lanai

It is not easy being a state composed of seven populated islands; it is not easy being a county of three populated islands.

Our geography makes government employees face long days and lots of travel servicing the citizens of the state and counties.

Wednesday night, Maui County lost two dedicated employees in the crash of a chartered plane on Lanai. Three others were grievously injured.

The crash followed a long day. The county employees had just finished a session of the Lanai Planning Commission at 8:30 p.m. Their chartered plane was to depart Lanai for Maui at 9:05 p.m.

At 9:23 p.m., one of the county employees – a deputy corporation counsel – placed a 911 call informing police they had been in a plane crash. Police and firemen arrived minutes later but it was too late for two employees and the pilot. The three survivors of the crash reportedly suffered burns of varying degrees.

Two were in critical condition, one in serious condition.

The wreck on Lanai comes less than three months after the crash of a plane into the ocean off Molokai took the life of state Health Director Loretta Fuddy. It reinforces the difficulty – and danger – our geography adds to the lives of public servants.

For now, all we can do is pray for recovery for the survivors and comfort for the families and friends of those who perished. We need to let them know that we are aware of the sacrifices they make to serve the people of Maui County.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.