Dozens of aircraft passengers were forced to swim for their lives following a plane missed a runway and landed in a sea lagoon on a remote island in Micronesia.
Accroding to Air Niugini statement, 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.
Air Niugini is the official flag carrier of Papua New Guinea.
Based on the independent website JACDEC, which monitors airline safety and crash data, the airplane proceeded normally until final approach when the weather conditions suddenly deteriorated and it began raining hard.
The airline also said that within minutes, local fishermen were on the scene in small motor boats to rescue people.
“At this point, it is still unclear whether the aircraft overshot the end of the runway or ditched in the lagoon before reaching the runway,” JACDEC said.
“Despite water ingress, the aircraft managed to stay afloat for some time allowing passenger evacuation via the over wing exits and the forward passenger door. The Boeing later submerged below the window line.”
The airport in Weno is one of the relatively short strip in North Pacific, with three sides by water.