Family of Lana'i plane crash victim mourns loss

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Feb 27 2014 11:15:56 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 27 2014 11:51:11 PM HST

One of the families in mourning after the Lanai plane crash is trying to make sense of what happened.

KAHULUI, Maui -

"I looked at her and she was smiling and laughing and you know she just, something was there you know," said George Balberdi, husband of the late Tremaine Balberdi.

Click here to watch Brenton Awa's report.

George Balberdi recalled one of the final times he'd see his wife. Tremaine was getting ready for her flight to Lana'i. George remembers dropping her off at the airport around 3 p.m Wednesday. He was supposed to pick her up around 9:30 p.m. The couple spoke to each other again when Tremaine was on Lana'i.

"Called me again at night and said I'm on my break you know just wanted to call you, say I love you and I said to call me when you leave," said Balberdi.

"My favorite is my grammy, I love my grammy no matter what," said Geovanni Balberdi.

The Kahului resident worked as a secretary for Maui's Department of Planning for almost 25 years. She grew up on Maui and her husband says she was just five years away from retiring.

This next conversation would be the couples last.

"I answered and she said hi and I said hi. She said we're on the runway and we're ready for leave you know so I'll see you there. I said okay, I said I love you, she said she loved me and we hung up," said Balberdi.

Just seconds later, George says his home phone rang again but only this time when he picked up, there was silence on the other end. He began to worry.

"I called my daughter and she said dad, there was a plane crash," said Balberdi.

Desperate for answers, the family called The Queens Medical Center where crash survivors had been sent.

"And we just asked them is there any woman on the list and they said no, so right then we knew she was one of them that didn't make it," said Balberdi.

At 1:30 Thursday morning, a chaplain arrived at the Balberdi's home and told them Tremaine had died.

"She's so wonderful and it's just so hard," said Balberdi.

Tremaine Balberdi, another Maui County worker, was killed in the Lana'i plane crash Wednesday. Her husband George, pictured here, said that she volunteered for the off-island work assignment for the Maui Department of Planning.

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