AN AUSTRALIAN man was co-piloting a commercial jet that crashed into a lagoon off a Micronesian island, according to preliminary reports.
The co-pilot was 35 years old and had 4618 hours of flying time. His commanding pilot was a man from Papua New Guinea who had 19,780 hours of flying time.
The Air Niugini flight crashed into a lagoon off the Micronesian island of Chuuk early this month, killing one passenger and seriously injuring six others who were on board, all of whom had to be hospitalised.
While attempting to land at Chuuk International Airport, the Boeing 737 missed the runway, forcing a crash landing in the water.
The passengers faced a terrifying emergency evacuation, after some reports surfaced that on board staff “panicked” after the plane landed short of the runaway.
The investigation is ongoing, with the Federated States of Micronesia being offered support by Papua New Guinea and the United States governments.
The plane had 47 people on board including 12 members of crew. Air Niugini announced that everybody was safe following the crash, but Indonesian man Eko Cahyanto Singgih was killed by the impact.
Mr Singgih’s body was later retrieved by US Navy divers, and Air Nigini corrected their statement.
Passengers were lucky to escape with their lives, and have told miraculous stories of survival.
Adam Milburn described being shocked to discover the plane he was travelling in was in water.
“I was like everyone, kind of floundering. ‘How did we get here? What’s happening? What are we doing right now in a plane that’s floating on the water?’” he told ABC’s 7.30.
Mr Milburn is a former Australian Navy clearance diver who lives in Micronesia. He described how he and a fellow passenger evacuated most of the passengers on board to safety.
Mr Milburn is reported to have run the safe evacuation of everybody on the flight without the assistance of the 12 staff on board who reportedly yelled at passengers to stay in their seats while the plane began to sink into the lagoon. The Australian is being hailed as a hero.
While Mr Milburn stood by the exit of the plane and ferried others out, other passengers told of flight staff running up on down the aisles.
Watch: Navy sailors search plane after Air Niugini crash in Micronesia
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The passengers were assisted by local fishermen who arrived with their boats and took them to shore.
The airline was founded in 1973. The incident is their first reported crash in their 45 year history.
Source: Google News : https://www.news.com.au/news/aussie-copilot-on-fatal-air-niugini-flight-that-crashed-into-lagoon/news-story/5da418ea0ca4252d06b2ab904be6b9b7