But all passengers and crew were safely rescued after the Boeing 737 missed a runway in Micronesia.
A Boeing 737-800 operated by Air Niugini came to rest in a lagoon during an attempted landing at Chuuk International Airport in Micronesia this morning.
The aircraft landed more than 500 meters short of the runway in the water, about 145 metres offshore, according to witnesses. Everyone on board was rescued and there were no serious injuries. The plane later sank beneath the surface.
Air Nuigini Flight 73 had departed Pohnpei Airport in Micronesia on a flight to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, but with an en route stop at the tiny island of Weno.
The aircraft was approaching the Weno runway in rainy conditions when it hit the water, the Aviation Safety Network reports, as “cumulonimbus clouds were moving to the southwest at 800-1000 feet over the airport”.
The 13 year-old Boeing was carrying 35 passengers and 12 crew, all of whom were taken to hospital for checks.
“It’s just surreal,” Bill Jaynes, the managing editor of a Micronesia-based newspaper who was on the plane, said in a post on Facebook. “I thought we landed hard until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in, and I thought, well, this is not, like the way it’s supposed to happen.”
Passengers found themselves quickly up to their waists in water and used the emergency exit to escape. Local fishing boats came to their rescue.