Plane that overshot runway dramatically crash lands in the Pacific Ocean
On Friday morning a plane crash-landed in the ocean, after missing the runway over Chuuk International Airport. While many passengers were injured, they were full of praise for the quick and efficient response of an island community nearby, who jumped into their boats and pulled the survivors from the wreckage as it sank.
Authorities later confirmed that the plane crashed into the water off the small Micronesian island of Weno, where locals who witnessed the crash rowed out in their fishing boats to help those that were stranded. All 35 passengers and 12 crew members were saved, though the water levels had reached waist-height before help arrived.
From eyewitness testimony, it seems that several people were injured in the crash, and there we no casualties.
Bill Jaynes, a passenger on board the Boeing 737-800, Told Nine News:
"I was really impressed with the locals who immediately started coming out in boats. One would have thought they would have been afraid to approach a plane that has just crashed. They were awesome and I was really impressed with their full response.
"I thought we landed hard, until I looked over to the side of the plane and saw a hole the water was coming in. I thought this is not the way it's supposed to happen.
"I called my wife and she cried - I asked her why as I'm talking to her. Fortunately my injury is just a head injury- there were some pretty severe ones but no deaths."
Another witness to the incident, Matthew Colson, who lives in Chuuk and runs a radio station, spoke to Pacific Daily News about what the villagers he saw help saw. "They're people that come here to go to work or go to the store or bring fish to the market to sell, and they just jumped in their boats and started helping," Colson said.
Some were treated for broken legs, at least one person had a broken arm from the crash, while others suffered various fractures. Eight people remain in hospital, one of which is on a ventilator.
Melba Aisek, the general manager of the Truk Stop Hotel, explained the scene:
"We can see the plane from our dock. So, from the dock, I could see there were plenty of boats heading that way. We ourselves, Truk Stop, sent out our dive boat to assist, but returned as there was already a good crowd of people already helping transport folks to the [runway].
"[It is] very lucky that this happened during the day and [they] got good help from passersby."
Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Guinea, said in a statement that they are currently providing assistance to all those affected by the crash:
"We are also in touch with the embassies, passenger representatives, stakeholders and families of the crew. We thank everyone in Chuuk for the assistance provided today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the passengers, crew and their families at this time."
While there is no shortage of injuries, at least there were no casualties in the crash.