Air Niugini now says 1 missing after crash landing in Pacific lagoon

01 October, 2018, 17:19 | Author: Carlos George
  • Local fishing boats move in to recover the passengers and crew of Air Niugini flight following the plane crashing into the sea on its approach to Chuuk International Airport in Micronesia on Sept. 28

"We came in low, we came in very low", he said in a Facebook video, describing how the Boeing 737-800 flown by Air Niugini approached Chuuk International Airport on Friday, but ended up short of the runway and in the Chuuk lagoon.

The airline said it was making all efforts to ensure the ongoing safety of the passengers and meet their immediate needs.

Minutes after the plane crashed into the Pacific lagoon, local people and mini boats quickly showed up to rescue the passengers.

The airline did not immediately offer any other details about the passenger, such as his age or nationality.

The passengers managed to escape from the plane, and locals arrived shortly on small boats to assist with the rescue operation.

Jaynes said people on the plane were in water up to their waists and used the emergency exit to escape. In 2008, an Asia Pacific Airlines cargo Boeing 727 overran the runway, ending up with its nose landing gear in the lagoon water at the end of the 6,000 foot Pohnpei airport runway.

He said: "I thought we landed hard". The operator blamed the incident on poor weather and that heavy rains had reduced visibility. "I thought "this is not the way it's supposed to happen".

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The fleet includes Boeing 767 and 737 jets for global routes, according to the airline, as well as Fokker F-100 aircraft, Q400 and Dash 8 aircraft for challenging local terrain. It said it was in touch with embassies, passenger representatives, stakeholders and families of the crew. Everyone on board survived, Air Niugini said.

But he said a subsequent inspection of the submerged cabin by the US Navy seals, supported reports that all passengers safely evacuated the aircraft at the time of the accident.

"At this point, it is still unclear whether the aircraft overshot the end of the runway or ditched in the lagoon before reaching the runway", JACDEC said.

Bill Jaynes, managing editor of a Micronesia-based newspaper, was on the plane when it hit the water.

Chuuk Lagoon is a popular diving destination and the site of sunken Japanese ships that were bombed by the USA military during World War II.

Air Niugini scheduled a special flight "to allow those passengers who wish to complete their trip to Port Moresby and onward to their final destinations".

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