A surprise landing left 35 passengers and 12 crew members soaking wet when an Air Niugini flight missed the runway, crashing into a nearby lagoon just of the coast of the island it was aiming for on Friday.
CNN reports that the Boeing aircraft, operated by the national carrier for Papua New Guinea, was heading for an airport on the Weno island of the Chuuk state of Micronesia, but it “landed short of the runway,” according to a statement from the airline.
The plane descended normally at first until it suddenly began raining very hard, which challenged visibility, according to the outlet. When the aircraft hit the water, it floated long enough for all 47 people aboard to safely exit. Local fishermen with small motor boats immediately started rescuing them.
The U.S. Navy told the Associated Press that sailors on a nearby wharf used an inflatable boat to bring people ashore. The plane eventually sank in about 100 feet of water.
Several people were taken to the hospital and it’s unclear how many, if any, were seriously injured. No fatalities have been reported.
“I thought we landed hard, until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in,” passenger Bill Jaynes said in a video posted to Facebook. “And I thought, well, this is not the way it’s supposed to happen.”
Jaynes believes the plane hit the runway and then continued on into the water. He added that the water in the cabin was waist-high before many people were able to get out.
A local hotel worker, Louie Mallari, told the AP that he heard the crash and people aboard screaming.
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“As the plane approaches, the sound of the engine is getting stronger, then suddenly a splash of water,” he recalled.
BBC reports that airport officials are investigating.