Passenger Plane Crash Lands in Lagoon After Overshooting Runway

An Air Niugini plane with 47 people aboard crashed into a lagoon during an attempted landing on Chuuk Island.

A Boeing 737 passenger jet has crashed into a lagoon in the Pacific state of Micronesia after missing the runway. All 47 people aboard were reportedly rescued. 

The plane hit the water while attempting to make land on Chuuk Island. The 47 passengers and crew were rescued from the half-submerged plane by boats. 

One passenger posted footage of the dramatic rescue on social media saying the plane had begun to fill with water before the evacuation could commence. The plane was operated by the Papua New Guinea state airline Air Niugini. 

All passengers and crew rescued and taken to hospital

The company released a brief statement confirming that all aboard were able to be evacuated safely. The crash reportedly occurred around 9.30am local time. 

"It was supposed to land but instead of landing it was 150 yards short and she went down," Jimmy Emilio, general manager of Chuuk Airport, told. "We don't really know what happened ... people were rescued by boats - 36 passengers and 11 crew were all rescued, only the plane is sinking right now," he said. 

Four passengers remain in serious condition

Everyone onboard the 737 was immediately taken to a local hospital, however, according to hospital spokespeople only eight remain. Four of these are in a serious condition with bone fractures and other injuries.

The plane attempted the landing in heavy rain with reduced visibility. Boeing has released a statement expressing their relief, everyone aboard was able to be rescued: “We are glad to hear the initial reports that all onboard Air Niugini Flight 73 evacuated safely. Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance under the direction of investigating government authorities.”

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Reports and images from the crash scene saw a flotilla of local boats heading out towards the plane to assist in the rescue effort.

A similar local hands-on force rescued 101 passengers aboard a Lion Air flight that overshot the runway at Denpasar in Indonesia and landed in shallow water in 2013. U.S Navy sailors working nearby on wharf repairs also assisted in the rescue sending an inflatable boat over to help lift passengers to safety.

Papua New Guinea’s Accident Investigation Commission has said investigators will arrive on the scene as soon as possible to begin an investigation into what happened. 

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Exactly what happened at this point remains unclear. Some observers believe that the plane did hit the runway but then continued into the water, however, the airline has said that the plane landed in the water before making contact with the runway.

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