Airline Now Says 1 Missing After Pacific Lagoon Plane Crash

Passengers of Air Niugini Boeing 737 were on a flight destined for the Chuuk Island Airport in Micronesia when their plane came just short of the runway and launched into the Pacific Ocean.

Local authorities, hospitals and investigators are trying the find the man, the airline said.

"When the plane came to a stop all the civilian boats came to help transport passengers to dry land".

The Air Niugini flight crashed into the sea on its approach to Chuuk International Airport in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Some members of the crew and passengers on board have been taken to a local hospital for treatment and are undergoing checks, however, there have been no reports of serious injuries thus far.

"The striking images of people being rescued from the half-submerged plane were reminiscent of the 2009 crash landing in New York City known as the 'Miracle on the Hudson, ' according to USA Today, in which 155 passengers survived an emergency landing in the Hudson River".

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed last week the two Australians on board were safe.

Locals in the Federated States of Micronesia were quick to react and by that saved lives when an aircraft overshot a runway and plunged into a lagoon.

An American passenger on the plane, and one of the people who shot the video footage, Bill Jaynes, said that he was up to his waist in water whilst still on the plane. "Until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in".

"I was really impressed with the locals who immediately started coming out in boats", he said in an interview with a Baptist missionary in Chuuk, Matthew Colson, who recorded the rescue effort and posted his interview with Jaynes on Facebook. Chuuk is in the Caroline Islands between the Northern Mariana Islands to the north and Papua New Guinea to the south.

Harris said he doesn't know what caused the crash landing or whether the pilots had alerted air traffic control of any problems.

The aircraft was enroute to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, RNZ Pacific reported.

There are 57 people, including 11 crew members and 46 passengers on the plane.

The weather "was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of the incident", Air Niugini said in a statement.

  • Rogelio Becker