A Navy surveillance plane flying in rainy weather overran the landing strip Monday at a military base in Hawaii and crashed into Kaneohe Bay, but the nine passengers on board were not injured, authorities said.
The Coast Guard responded, but rescue operations were quickly called off, said Petty Officer Ryan Fisher, a Coast Guard spokesman. “It appears that all parties involved were saved,” he said.
Marine Corps spokesman Gunnery Sgt. Orlando Perez had no information on what caused the P-8A Poseidon plane to go off the runway at s.
A photo taken by witness Diane Dircks showed the plane in the water just offshore, a sight reminiscent of 2009.when an airliner piloted by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made an emergency landing on the New York River. All 155 people on board survived.
The P-8A and the Airbus A320 flown by Sullenberger are approximately the same size.
Dircks and his family had just returned to the dock after rainy weather interrupted their pontoon boat trip when his daughter noticed the plane in the water.
“We ran to the end of the platform and I took a few photos,” she said.
Dircks, who is from Illinois, said her daughter kept a pair of binoculars with her for bird watching, which allowed her to see the plane and rescue boats arriving.
“It was amazing,” she said.
The Honolulu Fire Department received a 911 call about a downed plane shortly after 2 p.m., spokesman Malcolm K. Medrano said in an email. The weather was cloudy and rainy at that time. Visibility was about 1 mile, said Thomas Vaughan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.
The P-8A is often used to hunt submarines and for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. It is manufactured by Boeing and shares many parts with the 737 commercial jet.
The plane belongs to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron 4 stationed at Whidbey Island in Washington state. Patrol squadrons were formerly based in Kaneohe Bay, but are now deployed to Hawaii on a rotating basis.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii is approximately 10 miles from Honolulu, Oahu. The base is home to approximately 9,300 military personnel and 5,100 of their family members. It is one of several key military installations on Oahu.
Aeronautics expert Peter Forman told Hawaii News that the base’s runway is shorter and that bad weather and winds may also have played a role.
“The pilot probably didn’t land the plane exactly where he wanted it on the runway,” Forman said. “It’s probably a combination of all those factors coming together.”
The base is on Kaneohe Bay, home to coral reefs, a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks and a University of Hawaii marine biology research institute.
The military surrounded the crash site with booms to prevent any fuel leaks from spreading, but offered no assessment of possible environmental damage, Hawaii News Now reports.
“I’m so happy everyone was rescued and survived the accident,” Kahaluu resident Jonee Kaina told the station. “But I think someone should look at the impact that flying has on our marine life. There’s jet fuel, antifreeze and other toxins.”
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