AIR NIUGINI PLANE LANDS IN MICRONESIA LAGOON
A passenger plane missed a runway and landed in a lagoon before the Chuuk International Airport in Micronesia.
The Air Niugini plane, flying from the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, was found floating in the shallow water just off the coast. Locals immediately responded with small vessels to help rescue the 36 passengers and 11 crew.
According to Reuters, officials said that four passengers were in a serious condition after the crash.
A spokesperson for Air Niugini said that "amid reduced visibility due to rain and poor weather," its Boeing 737-800 had "landed short of the runway".
Speaking to reporters on the scene, passenger Bill Jaynes said that the incident had been "surreal".
"I thought we landed hard until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in. I thought, well, this is not like the way it's supposed to happen," he said.
Fortunately, the plane remained intact although water entering the cabin had risen to waist height before rescuers arrived, he added.
Describing the scene as he arrived to the BBC, one of the first responders to arrive, Dr James Yaingeluo from Chuuk State Hospital, said, "As soon as the plane door opened it was chaos. Everyone tried to get out through the exit. Thankfully there were about 20 boats in the water and we managed to get everyone off the plane."
Dr Yaingeluo said some of the passengers had suffered from hip fractures and would "probably have to be medevacked off the island".
Apparently, the aircraft was completely submerged by Friday afternoon.
An investigation is due to begin, airport officials said.
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