US Navy Sailors assist local authorities in shuttling passengers and crew of Air Niugini flight PX56 to shore following the plane crashing into the sea on its approach to Chuuk International Airport in Weno, Chuuk, Micronesia, Saturday. It said it was in touch with embassies, passenger representatives, stakeholders and families of the crew.
Footage has emerged of United States navy sailors embarking on a rescue mission in the aftermath of the plane crash - using an inflatable boat to shuttle people ashore before the plane sank in about 100ft (30m) of water.
"Air Niugini advises that its Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, P2-PXE landed short of the runway whilst landing at Chuuk Island of the Federated States of Micronesia this morning".
Some members of the crew and passengers on board have been taken to a local hospital for treatment and are undergoing checks, however, there have been no reports of serious injuries thus far.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed last week the two Australians on board were safe.
Images posted to social media showed the small boats racing to the site of the crash, surrounding the aircraft as it slowly sank in the lagoon, just off the airport.
'I'm alive. That's an extremely good thing, ' said Jaynes.
LT. ZACH NIEZGODSKI US NAVY VIA APThe plane crashed on its approach to Chuuk International Airport in the Federated States of Micronesia
Passenger Bill Jaynes, editor of the Pohnpei-based Kaselehlie Press newspaper said he did not even realise there had been an accident until he saw water gushing into the fuselage.
James Yaingeluo, one of the first to arrive at the scene, said the plane landed more than 500 meters short of the runway. "I thought, well, this is not the way it's supposed to happen".
Jaynes said those aboard managed to wade through waist-deep water to the emergency exits on the sinking plane.
What caused the crash and the exact sequence of events remains unclear.
Air Niugini is Papua New Guinea's national airline and lists only one 737-800 among its fleet of 21 aircraft on its official website.
"We don't really know what happened ... people were rescued by boats - 36 passengers and 11 crew were all rescued, only the plane is sinking right now", he added.
But it said it had been informed that "the weather was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of incident".