Business Standard

Plane misses runway, falls into Pacific lagoon

IANS  |  Palikir (Micronesia) 

Dozens of passengers were forced to swim for their lives on Friday after their plane missed a runway and landed in a sea lagoon on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 aircraft carrying 47 people -- 35 passengers and 12 crew members -- plunged into the water after it "landed short of the runway" at the international airport on Weno, the main island of Chuuk state in Micronesia on Friday, according to a statement by Air Niugini, the national carrier of Papua New Guinea.

Emergency teams and fishing boats in the area rushed to rescue people aboard the partially submerged airplane, according to a video that has gone viral. No casualties were reported, CNN reported.

The aircraft was flying from the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, stopping at Micronesia's Weno island on the way. The atoll nation of Micronesia, with 600 islands, is home to 1.5 lakh.

The plane proceeded normally until final approach when the weather conditions suddenly deteriorated and it began raining hard, reports said. An investigation was launched into the incident.

Passenger Bill Jaynes told reporters 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."

Jaynes said people on the plane were in water up to their waists and used the emergency exit to escape.

Photographs and video footage online showed small fishing boats surrounding the semi-submerged plane, ferrying passengers to safety.

The airline said it had received reports that "the weather was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of incident".



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, September 28 2018. 18:36 IST