Air Niugini pilot misses runway by 450 feet and crash-lands a Boeing 737 into a lagoon
- Air Niugini Flight 73 crash-landed into a lagoon off a small Micronesian island on Friday morning.
- The pilot of the Boeing 737 plane had missed the runway by 450 feet.
- All 35 passengers and 12 crew members on board survived.
- The passengers and crew left the plane and boarded local boats to get on shore.
- A passenger described seeing water from the lagoon seep into a hole on the side of the plane.
- The exact cause of the crash is not clear. Air Niugini said it was told weather conditions were poor.
A United Airlines flight from Guam that was scheduled to land in the same airport in Chuuk has been diverted to Pohnpei.
It is not known whether there are any injuries, or how many people were on board.
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There are mixed reports there were 36 passengers and 11 crew members on board who are safe.
Bill Davis wrote on Facebook that he witnessed the crash from the airport in Chuuk.
“It landed in the water about 160 yards [145 metres] off shore.
“The plane floated long enough for the 36 passengers and 11 crew members to escape and be rescued by locals in their boats.”
The Boeing 737 safely came to rest in the lagoon.
People in small boats were seen rescuing people from the plane before it began to sink.
“Then I went back to my workplace and somebody told me, and I looked from the rooftop and the plane was starting to go underwater,” Mr Merelli told Guardian Australia.
“It was sinking. It’s under waternow,” he said, while praising the impromptu rescue effort.
“The plane crashed and in around five minutes the rescuers were there, they were ordinary people,because there are plenty of boats around the shore. The officials were about 10 minutes.”
Air Niugini is PNG’s national carrier which services domestic network and international routes across Australia, Asia and the Pacific.