Kaneohe, Hawaii – November 27, 2023
In a dramatic incident earlier this week, a large U.S. Navy plane overshot a runway near Honolulu, ultimately ending up in the water. As the military orchestrates plans for the aircraft’s removal, the Navy’s Aircraft Mishap Board is intensively investigating the scene at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. The primary focus of the inquiry is to discern the cause of the accident and any contributing factors, as announced by the Navy in a statement on Friday.
A significant breakthrough in the investigation occurred on Thursday when sailors from a mobile diving and salvage unit successfully retrieved the flight data recorder from the downed P-8A Poseidon.
Subsequently, a hydrographic survey was conducted to evaluate the plane’s structural integrity and to assess the coral and marine environment surrounding the aircraft. This comprehensive survey is crucial for minimizing environmental impact during the impending removal process, according to the Navy.
Residents of Kaneohe Bay have raised concerns about potential coral reef damage and environmental harm from fuel or other chemicals in the area, situated approximately 1.5 miles from an ancient fishing point.
Responding to these concerns, the Navy has taken measures to contain and monitor the situation, placing primary and secondary containment booms around the plane along with other absorbent materials. Specially trained personnel are actively monitoring the area 24 hours a day.
Even though the situation was serious, all nine individuals on the aircraft emerged unharmed during the incident on Monday at the base, situated approximately 10 miles from Honolulu on Oahu. The aircraft in question, a “P-8A Poseidon,” is frequently employed for tasks such as “submarine tracking,” “reconnaissance,” and gathering “intelligence.” Produced by Boeing, the “P-8A” shares numerous components with the commercial “737 jet.”
The specific aircraft facing the issue belongs to the “Skinny Dragons” of “Patrol Squadron 4,” located at “Whidbey Island” in Washington State. “Patrol squadrons,” originally stationed at “Kaneohe Bay,” now take turns deploying to Hawaii. In response to the incident, another crew from Washington State, the VP-40 Fighting Marlins, arrived on Thursday to assume homeland defense coverage, as announced by the Navy.