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9 aboard US Navy plane that overshot runway escape injury

HONOLULU (AP) — A US Navy plane carrying nine people overshot a runway and splashed into a bay in Hawaii on Monday, but authorities said all aboard made it safely to shore with no injuries.

Spokesperson Petty Officer Ryan Fisher said the Coast Guard responded but that rescue operations were quickly called off.

“It sounds like all parties involved were rescued,” he said.

The P-8A aircraft overshot the runway at a Marine base on Kaneohe Bay, said US Marine Corps spokesperson Gunnery Sergeant Orlando Perez. He did not have further information.

A photo taken by a witness showed the plane floating just offshore, a scene reminiscent of the 2009 ” Miracle on the Hudson ” when a commercial aircraft piloted by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger made an emergency landing on the New York river. All 155 people aboard survived.

The P-8A and the Airbus A320 that Sullenberger piloted are roughly the same size.

Diane Dircks, 61, and her family had just returned to the dock after rainy weather cut their pontoon boat trip short when her daughter noticed the plane in the water.

“We went running over to the end of the dock, and I took some pictures,” she said.

They then heard sirens coming from everywhere.

Dircks, who is visiting from Illinois, said her daughter keeps a pair of binoculars on her for birdwatching, so she was able to see the plane and the rescue boats arriving.

“It was unbelievable,” she said.

The Honolulu Fire Department received a 911 call for a downed aircraft shortly after 2pm, spokesperson Malcolm K Medrano said in an email.

It was cloudy and rainy at the time. Visibility was about 1.6 kilometres, said Thomas Vaughan, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Honolulu.

The P-8A is often used to hunt for submarines and 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 at Whidbey Island in Washington state. Patrol squadrons were once based at Kaneohe Bay, but now they deploy to Hawaii on a rotational basis.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii is about 16 kilometres from Honolulu on Oahu. The base houses about 9,300 military personnel and 5,100 family members. It’s one of several key military installations on Oahu.

The base sits on Kaneohe Bay, which is also home to coral reefs, a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks and a University of Hawaii marine biology research institute.

This photo provided by Diane Dircks shows a US Navy plane that overshot a Marine base on Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on Monday. PHOTO: AP
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