Jetliner misses Micronesian runway, winds up in lagoon; no serious injuries reported

A flotilla of small boats swarmed the waters off Chuuk airport to pluck 47 passengers and crew to safety.
by Alex Johnson /  / Updated 
Image: Air Niugini in the water
Boats approach to rescue passengers and crew members aboard an Air Niugini aircraft that landed in the water in Micronesia on Friday.James Yaingeluo / AFP - Getty Images

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A jet of the national airline of Papua New Guinea landed in a lagoon at an airport in the Federated States of Micronesia on Friday morning, the airline said. No serious injuries were reported as a flotilla of small boats swarmed the scene to pluck the flight's 47 passengers and crew to safety, authorities said.

Air Niugini Flight 73, a Boeing 737 that connects Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, came to rest in the water after it landed short of the runway on approach to Chuuk island, the airline said. Everyone aboard was evacuated safely, it said.

The Federated States of Micronesia is part of a chain of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean that includes the U.S. territory of Guam.

The Pacific Daily News of Hagatña, the capital of Guam, quoted Jimmy Emilio, the airport's manager, as saying the plane landed in the lagoon instead of on the runway at about 9:30 a.m. Friday (7:30 p.m. ET Thursday). It ended up about 160 yards from the runway, Emilio said, according to the newspaper.

No one among the 36 passengers and 11 crew members was hurt, he said. The U.S. Embassy in Kolonia didn't answer a call seeking information on Americans who may have been aboard the plane.

NBC affiliate KUAM of Hagatña reported that parts of Micronesia are under high surf and rip current advisories through Saturday because of a tropical disturbance carrying winds of 24 to 34 mph. The center of the tropical disturbance at one point came within 285 miles of Chuuk, KUAM reported.

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