Micronesia air crash turns fatal as passenger's body found, says airline

Micronesia air crash turns fatal as passenger's body found, says airline

Passengers of Air Niugini Boeing 737 were on a flight destined for the Chuuk Island Airport in Micronesia when their plane came just short of the runway and launched into the Pacific Ocean.

The passenger was seen in one of the local dinghies that were assisting with transporting the passengers and crew to the shore, the airline said in a statement.

All 37 passengers and 11 crew survived the crash landing on the Boeing 737-800, according to local authorities.

Minutes after the plane crashed into the Pacific lagoon, local people and mini boats quickly showed up to rescue the passengers. Eight people remain in hospital, one of which is on a ventilator.

Harris said initial reports suggested the plane was too low as it prepared to land and ended up short of the runway. While the airline did not provide details of the cause of the crash, it said it had received information that "the weather was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of incident".

The fleet includes Boeing 767 and 737 jets for worldwide routes, according to the airline, as well as Fokker F-100 aircraft, Q400 and Dash 8 aircraft for challenging local terrain.

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Passenger Bill Jaynes, editor of the Pohnpei-based Kaselehlie Press newspaper said he did not even realise there had been an accident until he saw water gushing into the fuselage. "I thought "this is not the way it's supposed to happen". One would have thought they would have been afraid to approach a plane that has just crashed.

Jaynes said before he got off the plane through an emergency exit, water was waist high inside the aircraft.

"Australian Embassy officials in Pohnpei have spoken to two Australians who were on the aircraft and neither has requested consular assistance", said a DFAT spokesperson.

Footage has emerged of United States navy sailors embarking on a rescue mission in the aftermath of the plane crash - using an inflatable boat to shuttle people ashore before the plane sank in about 100ft (30m) of water.

The country and the airline's profiles are likely to rise because Papua New Guinea is hosting world leaders in November for an annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

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