Plane lands in Pacific lagoon after missing runway

Everyone on Air Niugini passenger plane survived crash off coast of Micronesia

Micronesia plane crash
Rescuers on local fishing boats surround the submerged plane
(Image credit: Twitter)

A passenger plane crash-landed in lagoon this morning after overshooting an airport runway on a tiny island in the Pacific.

Local fishing boats rushed to rescue the passengers and crew on the Air Niugini flight following the emergency landing near Chuuk Airport in Federated States of Micronesia.

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Photographs and video footage posted on social media showed small local boats surrounding the sinking aircraft as volunteers helped rescue passengers from the water.

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The cause of the crash is unclear and an investigation is being launched, according to the Associated Press.

Bill Jaynes, a journalist based in Pohnpei, told the Pacific Daily News: “It was surreal. I thought we [just] landed hard until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in, and thought, ‘This is not the way it’s supposed to happen.’

“We came in low, very low. Unfortunately, the flight attendants panicked and started yelling. I was trying to be calm and help as much as I could.

“I was really impressed with the locals, who immediately started coming out in boats. One might think they’d be afraid to approach a plane that just crashed… [but] they were awesome.”

The New York Times reports that Air Niugini Flight 73 was flying from Pohnpei, about 415 miles to the east, and was making a stop in Chuuk before a scheduled leg to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.

The newspaper adds: “The 13-year-old aircraft reportedly sustained damage to its wing in May, when another aircraft that was taxiing at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby collided with the Air Niugini jet, which was parked and unoccupied at the time.”

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