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Passengers Swam For Their Lives After Plane Missed The Runway

Bill David - Facebook

Dozens of people were stranded in the ocean after a plane missed the runway at an airport in Micronesia.

Air Niugini says that a flight carrying 47 people (including 12 crewmembers) landed short of the runway on the small island's Chuuk International Airport.

Micronesia plane crash
The tiny island of Micronesia.Google Maps

A Miraculous Rescue

Despite stunning photos of a waterlogged Boeing 737-800 from the scene of the crash, the airline says there were no fatalities.

Maps and satellite photos of the airport's runway show it's bordered by the Pacific Ocean on three sides.

JACDEC, an independent website that monitors airline safety and crashes, reports that a sudden downpour before landing could be to blame for the water landing.

"At this point, it is still unclear whether the aircraft overshot the end of the runway or ditched in the lagoon before reaching the runway," the site wrote.

Locals and passengers say the plane appeared to be flying "very low" just before the crash.

Micronesia plane crash
The runway at Chuuk International Airport.Micronesia DCA

One of the passengers, Bill Jaynes, described the moment he realized the plane had landed in the ocean.

"It's just surreal. I thought we landed hard until I looked over and saw a hole in the side of the plane and water was coming in, and I thought, well, this is not, like, the way it's supposed to happen," he remembered.

Jaynes also described wading through waist-high water with other passengers to escape the plane by its emergency exits.

Photos from the scene show dozens of passengers huddled together on the airplane's wings, waiting to be rescued as local fishermen arrived.

James Yaingeluo, one of the first people to arrive at the scene, claimed the plane was almost 1,500 feet ahead of the runway, and the crash could have been much worse.

"Luckily, it happened during the daytime," he said. "When the plane came to a stop all the civilian boats came to help transport passengers to dry land."

"Once the doors opened everybody fought to get out," he added. "All the passengers were scared and in shock"

Both passengers and locals praised the fishermen, who arrived minutes before emergency crews and may have saved lives.

"They just went straight out there and started hauling people to shore," said island resident Matthew Coulson.

"One might think they'd be afraid to approach a plane that just crashed ... [but] they were awesome," said Jaynes.

Some passengers were reportedly treated for broken bones, and Jaynes described seeing "pretty severe injuries."

Air Niugini says they're providing accommodations and return flights for passengers from the downed plane.

[H/T: CNN, The Guardian, Loop]

Thank goodness everyone survived! Can you believe it?

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