Ditched Poseidon aircraft intact as US Navy prepares to investigate in Hawaii

A ditched US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Aultman

The U.S. Navy has carried out preliminary assessments on P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft which ditched in shallow waters of Kaneohe Bay after overshooting the runway whilst landing on November 21.

The initial assessments by the Navy have found that the airframe is structurally intact and there are no signs of fuel leakage from the ditched aircraft which remains in shallow water off the end of the runway at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station (Marion E Carl Field).

US Navy P-8A – Kaneohe Bay

Airframe now secured

Recent photographs show that environmental containment booms have been placed around the aircraft as a precautionary measure to prevent fluid leakage into the surrounding waters of Kaneohe Bay.

The aircraft involved in the incident was a Boeing P-8A Poseidon (737-8FV) registration 169561 which is operated by Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4) “The Skinny Dragons”, based out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state.

The aircraft concerned was confirmed to be on a routine scheduled flight at the time of the incident.


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Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Aultman

Update statement US Third Fleet

According to a statement issued on Tuesday night, San Diego-based U.S. Third Fleet public affairs office confirmed that an investigation was to be launched into the landing incident, to determine the causes and contributing factors.

“First responders and emergency crews acted immediately to conduct an initial assessment and employed floating barriers to protect the surrounding environment”

“Additionally, divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 worked overnight to help stabilize the aircraft. Preliminary assessment indicates the aircraft is structurally intact, and there was no sign of fuel leaking from the aircraft.,” the statement read.

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Aultman

Nine crew members were confirmed to be the board the Poseidon aircraft at the time of the runway excursion incident – three pilots and six crewmembers.

No injuries were reported by the crew compliment, who all managed to exit the ditched aircraft and swim to the shore.

Environmental concerns

Environmental concerns have been raised by local bodies, particularly given the fact that Kaneohe Bay is a known breeding ground for hammerhead sharks and also hosts whale sharks. Both species are listed as endangered.

It is not known how long it will take for the intact airframe to be recovered at this stage.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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