Rahi Hohua and Joey King. Photo / Facebook
A former Auckland man confessed he was as "nervous as
hell" about a skydive in Queensland shortly before he and his
Kiwi fiancee were killed in a fiery plane crash.
"So I woke up this morning nervous as hell about the sky
diving today. I'm about to conquer my greatest fear. I love
everyone lol," 32-year-old father of four Joseph King wrote
on his Facebook page on Saturday morning.
His mates told him to stay strong and wished him luck. Others
joked around as Mr King, known as Joey, wrote one of his last
posts: "Bye everyone lol where off (sic)".
The farewell proved prescient.
Mr King and his fiancee Rahi Hohua, 27, were among five
people killed on Saturday when the skydiving plane they were
in crashed in flames at Caboolture airfield, 50km north of
Brisbane. It took off and had barely left the runway before
it veered left and plunged to the ground.
As the bad news spread, messages on Mr King's Facebook page
turned into despair: "Cuz hope it wasn't you's on that plane!
Let us know you alguds," wrote one friend.
Then came messages of love as the bad news was confirmed.
Ms Hohua, a mother of two children and originally from
Hamilton, and Mr King, who hailed from Manurewa and has three
children, lived in Logan, Queensland.
They had been together for more than two years and planned to
marry, Ms Hohua's brother Inia Hohua told reporters at
"Honestly, words fail and it's just crushing," he said.
He described his sister and her fiance as "beautiful".
"They were consumed by love. If you knew them you would have
seen it," he said.
"I know people always say they were awesome but it's not just
because she was my sister.
"We're holding up all right - we're still letting it all sink
in but we're all together in this and it's changed my life
"Just cherish your family, cherish everything every second a
chance you've got because not in my wildest dreams would I
have thought this would have happened.
"We love you Rahi and Joey," he told reporters.
Mr Hohua said family members had rushed to the crash scene
and were supporting each other.
Before taking off Ms Hohua and Mr King exchanged excited
Facebook messages about the planned skydive, a gift from Ms
Hohua to Mr King.
Yesterday their friends took to social media to express their
Benji Minogue wrote on Mr Hohua's page: "Inia, we are so
shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of these
beautiful young people.
"Rahi and Joey have left strong impressions on our hearts and
we are blessed and all the more richer for having known them,
and sharing good times with them."
Meanwhile Mr King's mates were having a get-together in Logan
to celebrate his life.
Online profiles for the pair say Mr King attended Manurewa
High School and had worked for Metcash, an Australian
distribution and marketing company.
Ms Hohua's profiles say she attended a high school in
Australia and Fraser High School in Hamilton. A nail
technician by trade, she had written of a wish to broaden her
The Cessna 206 they were travelling in, run by Adrenalin
Skydivers, crashed in what local police labelled an
"unsurvivable" plunge to the ground.
Among the dead were experienced instructors Glenn Norman and
Jurag Glesk, who had thousands of jumps under their belts.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating what
The Sunday Mail newspaper reported that Adrenalin Skydivers
was involved in a similar incident in 2010 when seven people
survived a crash when a plane suffered engine trouble on
The company uses the Caboolture Airfield for taking off on
tandem jumps. Skydivers land on a nearby island.
The Australian Parachute Federation (APF) will conduct its
own investigation into the crash, parallel to the ATSB probe,
the ABC reported.
APF spokesman Grahame Hill told the ABC it was the third
flight of the day, the pilot was competent, and conditions
were "close to ideal".
"We haven't come up with anything definitive at all yet - we
need to know certain things about the aeroplane, what they
can glean from the crash site itself," he said.
- by Jimmy Ellingham