A Navy surveillance plane flying in rain Monday overshot the runway at a military base in Hawaii and crashed into Kaneohe Bay, but all nine on board were unharmed, authorities said.
The Coast Guard intervened, but the rescue operation was quickly called off, said Petty Officer Ryan Fisher, a Coast Guard spokesman. “It appears that all parties involved have been 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.
A photo taken by witness Diane Dircks showed the plane in the water just offshore, a sight reminiscent of the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson,” when a passenger plane piloted by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made an emergency landing on the New River York. All 155 people on board survived.
This photo provided by Diane Dircks shows a U.S. Navy plane overshooting a Marine base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. An official says all nine people aboard the plane escaped injury. Diane Dircks/AP
The P-8A and Airbus A320 flown by Sullenberger are roughly 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 pier and I took some photos,” he said.
Dircks, visiting from Illinois, said his daughter keeps binoculars with her for bird watching, so she could see the plane and incoming rescue boats.
“It was incredible,” he said.
The Honolulu Fire Department received an emergency call about a downed plane shortly after 2 p.m., spokesman Malcolm K. Medrano said in an email. At that time it was cloudy and raining. Visibility was about 1 mile, said Thomas Vaughan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu.
The P-8A is often used for submarine hunting 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 on Whidbey Island, Washington state. The patrol squadrons were once based in Kaneohe Bay, but now deploy to Hawaii on a rotational basis.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii it’s about 10 miles from Honolulu on Oahu. The base is home to approximately 9,300 military personnel and 5,100 family members. It is one of several key military installations on Oahu.
Aircraft expert Peter Forman he told Hawaii News Now the runway at the base is shorter and bad weather and wind may also have played a role.
“The pilot probably didn’t land the plane exactly where he wanted on the runway,” Forman said. “It’s probably a combination of all these factors put together.”
The base is located on Kaneohe Bay, which is 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 barriers to prevent the spread of the leaked fuel, but offered no assessment of any environmental damage, Hawaii News Now reports.
“I’m so happy that everyone was rescued and survived the crash,” Kahaluu resident Jonee Kaina told the station. “But I think someone needs to take a look at the impact the aircraft is having on our marine life. There’s jet fuel, antifreeze and other toxins.”