Passengers, crew safe after Air Niugini crashes into lagoon


Air Niugini, the official state airline of Papua New Guinea, confirmed in a statement that the aircraft "landed short of the runway whilst landing at Chuuk Island of the Federated States of Micronesia this morning". "I thought, well, this is not like the way it's supposed to happen".

Air Niugini stated that the aircraft had 35 passengers and 12 crew members on board, all of whom were able to safely evacuate the aircraft with assistance from locals in Chuuk.

The aircraft was being operated by Air Niugini, the national carrier of Papua New Guinea.

The Air Niugini plane was travelling between the two Micronesia airports of Pohnpei and Chuuk, where it was due to stop before continuing on the way to the Papuan capital, Port Moresby.

The cause of Friday's accident was not immediately known.

The plane was reportedly carrying 36 passengers and 11 crew.

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But it said it had been informed that "the weather was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of incident".

The lagoon where the plane landed was not believed to be far from land, and a number of small boats were now part of the rescue.

"It's really fortunate that we didn't have any fatalities", said Glenn Harris, a government aviation security inspector for the Federated States of Micronesia.

Fortunately, all people on the plane were rescued after the crash and no one sustained any serious injury.

Air Niugini is PNG's national carrier which services domestic network and worldwide routes across Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

The PNG Accident Investigation Commission is preparing a team to travel to the site of the accident.