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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Air Niugini PX56 crashes in Chuuk; U.S. Navy, locals render aid

An Air Niugini plane crashed in a lagoon off Weno airport in Chuuk on Friday morning.

Pictures and videos of passengers being rescued and evacuated from the crash site were posted on the social media.

No official information has been released. Phone calls to the Chuuk airport and Air Niugini office were not answered as of this writing.

A source from the field said there were 46 passengers on board and all were accounted for..

Bill Jaynes, editor of Pohnpei's Kasehlelie Press, is among the passengers. An email from his relative said "He is OK."

(Photo, U.S. Navy)

According to the flight schedule on line, the ill-fated aircraft, Boeing 737-800, left Pohnpei at 8:50 a.m. and was scheduled to stop over in Chuuk at 8:55 a.m. on its way to Port Moresby.

Passengers got assistance from both locals with small boats and from U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Underwater Construction Team UCT 2 rendered immediate assistance to the passengers and crew of Air Nuigini flight PX56, after it crashed into the lagoon near Chuuk. According to a Navy release, Flight PX56 crashed approximately a quarter mile short of the runway, near where UCT 2 was conducting operations. The sailors assisted local authorities by shuttling passengers and crew to shore using their inflatable boat prior to the plane sinking in approximately 100 feet of water. UCT 2’s embedded Chief hospital corpsman provided medical attention to at least one passenger who sustained minor injuries. UCT 2 is in Chuuk providing a range of operations improving the wharf area, including inspecting of existing navigational aids; assessment of the wharf; exploring the port for future deep-water mooring locations; and placing environmental offsets at popular scuba diving sites which will protect the coral reef from damage due to boat anchors.


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