Air Niugini’s Boeing 737-800 landed by emergency in lagoon in Micronesia. The pilot attempted to land at Chuuk International Airport, but during the attempt touched the water and was forced to land in the lagoon. There are no serious injuries among passengers and crew. All the people were rescued by local fishermen and police officers, as the plane was sinking.
The airline said the aircraft, flying from the capital of Micronesia to Port Moresby, “landed a bit off the runway”. “Air Niugini can confirm that everyone on board was able to safely evacuate from the plane”, adds the official statement of the company.
On board there were 36 passengers and 11 crew members. All of them escaped with minor injuries. Eight people were hospitalized at the Chuuk State Hospital. All the patients are males and four of them suffered head injuries, spinal cord injuries and hip fractures.
Within an hour after the crash, the plane sank in the lagoon.
The Boeing 737-800 is a stretched version of the 737-700. It replaced the 737-400. It also filled the gap left by the decision to discontinue the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and MD-90 aircraft following Boeing’s merger with McDonnell Douglas. For many airlines in the US, the 737-800 replaced aging Boeing 727-200 trijets.
The 737-800 seats 162 passengers in a two-class layout or 189 passengers in a one-class layout. It burns 850 US gallons (3,200 L) of jet fuel per hour—about 80 percent of the fuel used by an MD-80 on a comparable flight, even while carrying more passengers than the latter. According to the Airline Monitor, an industry publication, a 737-800 burns 4.88 US gallons (18.5 L) of fuel per seat per hour.