‘Everybody is alive’ – Chuuk airport manager says after crash of Air Niugini Flight 73

Boaters on Weno island in Chuuk, in the Federated States of Micronesia respond to the crash of Air Niugini Flight 73 earlier this morning in Chuuk. All 46 people aboard are safe, said airport Manager Jimmy Emilio. Picture: Courtesy of Bill Davis through PACNEWS

CHUUK, 28 SEPTEMBER 2018 (THE GUAM DAILY POST) – Forty-six people aboard Air Niugini Flight 73 miraculously survived after the flight fell short of the runway on Weno International Airport in Chuuk this morning and landed in lagoon waters.

“No serious injuries. Only minor … Everybody is alive!” Jimmy Emilio, the airport’s manager, confirmed by phone to The Guam Daily Post.

“Everybody is safely off the plane,” he added.

When the plane went down, a lot of local boaters and the local rescue team immediately rushed to the crash site, Emilio said.

He said the passengers and crew were transported to the local hospital and as far as he knows, no one was badly injured.

A video reposted by Eriko Rekis on his Facebook page shows many boaters immediately responding as the aircraft hit the lagoon water, and helping passengers get off the half-submerged plane and transporting them to safer ground.

The aircraft is a Boeing 737, Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor for the FAA Pacific Division confirmed.

The US Coast Guard Cuttter Washington, which happens to be in nearby waters, is heading to the crash site to help.

Air Niugini Flight 73 travels between Chuuk and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. The flight was to take two hours and 40 minutes.

Air Niugini is Papua New Guinea’s leading airline, with more than 20 destinations nationally and 10 internationally.

A United Airlines flight from Guam that was scheduled to land at the same airport in Chuuk has been diverted to Pohnpei.

A team from Auckland, New Zealand en route to Weno to try and salvage the plane.

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