After defueling the U.S. Navy plane sitting in Kaneohe Bay on Sunday, Navy officials are now looking to begin salvaging the plane that slid off a runway at Marine Corps Base Hawaii a week ago.
At least two points of the 42-foot-high P-8A are sitting on coral reef.
>> RELATED STORY: Navy plane still resting in shoal of Kaneohe Bay
Navy divers on Sunday removed about 2,000 gallons of fuel from the plane without incident, according to Rear Adm. Kevin P. Lenox, on-scene commander and commander of Carrier Strike Group 3. The state’s on-scene commander was on scene during the defueling process, Lenox said.
“We were able to get just about all of the fuel out of the aircraft, which will reduce the risk going forward when we go to lift it out and get it on the runway,” Lenox said during a press conference today.
The plane has been surrounded by three containment booms, along with “hydrophobic absorbent material” designed to absorb potential toxic material from the plane.
Two potential options to salvage the plane include floating the plane and getting it within range of a crane on the runway and settling onto its landing gear, or floating it and using roller bags to roll it up onto the runway, according to Lenox.
“Once we have all the equipment and have looked at both of those courses of action and decided which one is the most feasible, the safest and most likely to achieve our three objectives, we’ll start moving forward,” Lenox said. “And in detail, and making sure we can execute it right the first time.”
Lenox said they will take into consideration the environment, weather conditions and all the available resources. A timeline of the salvage operation was not yet available.
Sometime around 2 p.m. Nov. 20, amid cloudy and rainy weather, the three pilots and six crew members of the P-8A based out of Whidbey Island in Washington overshot their landing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and ended up in the water.
No one was injured.
The Navy uses the P-8A Poseidons assigned to the “Skinny Dragons” Patrol Squadron 4 for multiple missions including submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Separate safety and legal investigations are underway conducted by senior Navy officials, Lenox said.
This livestream video has ended. Watch a replay at the top of the page.