Air Niugini passengers safely evacuated

“I’m alive and that’s an extremely good thing,” said journalist Bill Jaynes, one of the passengers on board Air Niugini’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which crashed in a lagoon off in Chuuk Friday morning.

Air Niugini confirmed that all passengers of the ill-fated plane have been safely evacuated. “The airline is making all efforts to ensure the safety and immediate needs of our passengers and crew,” the airline said in a brief statement issued at 12:30 p.m.

Air Niugini said the aircraft, P2-PXE landed short of the runway while landing at Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia.

P2-PXE was operating scheduled flight PX 073 between Pohnpei and Chuuk Airport when the incident occurred at 10:10 a.m. (FSM local time), the airline said in its latest press statement. “Air Niugini has been informed that the weather was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of incident.”

According to the flight schedule available online, flight PX 073 left Pohnpei at 8:50 a.m. and was scheduled to stop over in Chuuk on its way to Port Moresby. The flight had 35 passengers and 12 crew members onboard.

Bill Jaynes in Chuuk

“We came in low, very low. Unfortunately, the flight attendants panicked and started yelling. I was trying to be calm and help as best as I could.” Jaynes said in a video message posted by Matthew Colson on Facebook.