Passenger plane crash-lands in Pacific lagoon | News | DW | 28.09.2018
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Passenger plane crash-lands in Pacific lagoon

An airliner has ditched into a lagoon after undershooting the runway in Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia. Passengers and crew were all successfully rescued.

An Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 has ended up half-submerged in a lagoon outside an airport on Chuuk Island in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) after missing the runway on Friday morning.

A number of boats, including those of local fishermen, were used to rescue people from the stricken plane, with the airline saying everybody aboard had been "able to safely evacuate the aircraft." However, seven people were reported to have been taken to hospital, with one described as being in a critical but stable condition.

Partly submerged plane, with people in lifejackets on boat (picture-alliance/AP/M. Colson)

The US Navy helped shuttle passengers and crew to shore

Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Guinea, said it was looking after the immediate needs of passengers and crew, but gave no details on what might have caused the accident or how many people were aboard the plane.

It did, however, say it had received reports that the weather and visibility were very poor.

According to local news reports, the plane was carrying between 40 and 50 people.

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Boats rescuing people from the Air Niugini plane in Weno, Chook (Reuters/A. San)

Several boats turned out to rescue passengers and crew

Wide-flung states

The plane was scheduled to make a stop in Chuuk on its way from Pohnpei, another state in the FSM, to the Papua New Guinean capital, Port Moresby.

The airline Air Niugini has been in operation since 1973.

FSM, which lies to the north of Australia and east of the Philippines, consists of around 600 islands divided into four states — Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae — and has a population of just over 100,000 people.

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tj/ng (dpa, AP, AFP)

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