U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 rendered immediate assistance to the passengers and crew of Air Nuigini flight PX56, after it crashed into the lagoon near Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, International Airport, Sept. 28.
Flight PX56 crashed approximately a quarter mile short of the runway, near where UCT 2 was conducting operations. The Sailors assisted local authorities by shuttling passengers and crew to shore using their inflatable boat prior to the plane sinking in approximately 100 feet of water.
The Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 (P2-PXE) involved in the incident was flying from Pohnpei in Micronesia to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, stopping at Chuuk in Micronesia’s Weno island on the way. The aircraft lost height shortly before landing at runway 04 of Chuuk Airport.
Air Niugini said its Boeing 737-800 had “landed short of the runway” amid reduced visibility due to rain and poor weather. An investigation is due to begin, airport officials said.
UCT 2’s embedded Chief hospital corpsman provided medical attention to at least one passenger who sustained minor injuries.
UCT 2 is in Chuuk providing a range of operations improving the wharf area, including inspecting of existing navigational aids; assessment of the wharf; exploring the port for future deep-water mooring locations; and placing environmental offsets at popular scuba diving sites which will protect the coral reef from damage due to boat anchors.