All nine people on board a U.S. Navy plane that overshot a runway and went into Kaneohe Bay escaped safely to shore, officials said today.
The P8-A aircraft overshot the runway at a Marine base on Kaneohe Bay, said U.S. Marine Corps spokesperson Gunnery Sgt. Orlando Perez.
Honolulu Fire Department reported receiving the call at 2:06 p.m. and sent multiple units to the scene just off the Marine Corps Base Marina Pier. Honolulu Emergency Medical Services also responded with several units to the call for the downed aircraft and all the individuals on board were not injured, spokesperson Shayne Enright told the Star-Advertiser.
Coast Guard spokesperson Petty Officer Ryan Fisher said the Coast Guard responded but rescue operations were quickly called off. HFD closed the incident at 2:42 p.m.
“It sounds like all parties involved were rescued,” he said.
It was cloudy and rainy at the time. Visibility was about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers), said Thomas Vaughan, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Honolulu.
A photo taken by a witness showed the plane floating just offshore, a scene reminiscent of the 2009 “ Miracle on the Hudson” when a commercial aircraft piloted by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made an emergency landing on the New York river. All 155 people aboard survived.
The P-8A and the Airbus A320 that Sullenberger piloted are roughly the same size.
Diane Dircks, 61, and her family had just returned to the dock after rainy weather cut their pontoon boat trip short when her daughter noticed the plane in the water.
“We went running over to the end of the dock, and I took some pictures,” she said.
They then heard sirens coming from everywhere.
Dircks, who is visiting from Illinois, said her daughter keeps a pair of binoculars on her for birdwatching, so she was able to see the plane and the rescue boats arriving.
“It was unbelievable,” she said.
The P8-A aircraft is a Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, according to Boeing. The P-8A is often used to hunt for submarines and 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 once based at Kaneohe Bay, but now they deploy to Hawaii on a rotational basis.
The base is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Honolulu. The base sits on Kaneohe Bay, which is also home to coral reefs, a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks and a University of Hawaii marine biology research institute.
This story is developing and will be updated as soon as more information becomes available.