U.S. Navy crew helps rescue passengers, crew from downed airliner

Posted at 8:54 AM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 10:54:43-04

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA – When an airliner went down today into a lagoon near Chuuk, members of the U.S. Navy Underwater Construction Team 2 went into action helping passengers and the crew.

Flight PX56 hit the water about a quarter mile short of the runway on the Pacific Island that’s part of the Federated States of Micronesia southeast of Guam and northeast of Papau New Guinea.

Air Niugini flight PX56
U.S. Navy Sailors from Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 assist shuttling passengers and crew of Air Niugini flight PX56 to shore. (Photo by Lt. Zach Niezgodski)

UCT 2 was working nearby. But as the plane came down they started helping get all 35 passengers and 12 crew out and ferrying them back to dry land before the plane sank in 100 feet of water.

Fortunately, only one person on the plane sustained minor injuries.

According to the U.S. Navy, 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.

MAP – Chuuk