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PNG citizens in crash, PM warns of fake news

PNG citizens in crash, PM warns of fake news

Papua New Guinea's national carrier says a search continues in Micronesia for a passenger missing after last Friday's crash landing of an Air Niugini flight.

The airline revealed Saturday that one of the passengers hadn't been accounted for. According to reports, the flight carried 36 passengers and in addition to this among them were extra 11 cabin crew who also were rescued.

The airline did not immediately respond to requests for more details about the passenger, such as his age or nationality.

Authorities later confirmed that the plane crashed into the water off the small Micronesian island of Weno, where locals who witnessed the crash rowed out in their fishing boats to help those that were stranded.

Air Nugini plane has overshot the runway at Chuuk International Airport and has sunk in the lagoon which is just past the airport, all passengers and crew were rescued, with no fatalities. In 2008, an Asia Pacific Airlines cargo Boeing 727 overran the runway, ending up with its nose landing gear in the lagoon water at the end of the 6,000 foot Pohnpei airport runway. "And I thought, well, this is not the way it's supposed to happen". What caused the crash and the exact sequence of events remains unclear. "The aircraft had 35 passengers and 12 crew members on-board, all of whom were able to safely evacuate the aircraft".

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.

He said the flight attendants were yelling, and he suffered a minor head injury.

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Social media posts shows a series of small boats helping passengers from the submerged aircraft.

The U.S. Embassy in Micronesia said it was working to confirm the identities and the health and safety of any American passengers onboard the flight.

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

"I was really impressed with the locals", said Jaynes.

Chuuk Lagoon is a popular diving destination and the site of sunken Japanese ships that were bombed by the USA military during World War II.

Air Niugini lists only one 737-800 among its fleet of 21 aircraft on its official website.


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