Air Niugini Flight 73

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Air Niugini Flight 73
Photograph of passengers being rescued from the aircraft
Passengers and crew being rescued following the accident
DateSeptember 28, 2018 (2018-09-28)
SummaryCrash landed in lagoon just short of the runway. (Under investigation)
SiteChuuk Lagoon, off from Chuuk International Airport
7°27′12.55″N 151°50′9.86″E / 7.4534861°N 151.8360722°E / 7.4534861; 151.8360722Coordinates: 7°27′12.55″N 151°50′9.86″E / 7.4534861°N 151.8360722°E / 7.4534861; 151.8360722
Aircraft typeBoeing 737-8BK
OperatorAir Niugini
IATA flight No.PX73
ICAO flight No.ANG73
Call signNIUGINI 73
Flight originPohnpei Airport
StopoverChuuk International Airport
DestinationPort Moresby Airport

Air Niugini Flight 73 was a scheduled service from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. On September 28, 2018, the flight, operated by a Boeing 737, landed short of the runway at Chuuk International Airport in Weno (FSM) and came to rest in Chuuk Lagoon. Locals in small boats rescued most passengers and all crew members. One passenger was initially declared missing. He was later found dead by rescue divers.[1] Forty-six people survived but six of them were injured.


The accident aircraft was a Boeing 737-8BK, registration P2-PXE, msn 33024, Boeing line number 1688. It had first flown on 1 April 2005.[2]

The aircraft was originally registered VT-AXC for Air India Express and was delivered on 19 April 2005.[2] On 6 July 2005, it was damaged in a runway excursion on landing at Cochin International Airport, India.[3] On 29 July 2010, the aircraft was sold to Jet Airways and was registered VT-JBT. It was sold to CIT Leasing Corporation on 24 July 2013 and registered M-ABGK before being sold to Air Niugini on 13 September 2013 and registered P2-PXE.[2] On 12 May 2018, it was struck by Lockheed L-100 Hercules N403LC of Lynden Air Cargo whilst parked at Port Moresby Airport, sustaining damage to its right winglet.[4]


The aircraft was operating an internationally scheduled passenger flight from Pohnpei Airport, FSM to Port Moresby Airport, Papua New Guinea via Chuuk International Airport, FSM. At 10:10 local time (00:10 UTC), the aircraft landed in the Chuuk lagoon 135 metres (148 yd) short of Chuuk International Airport. Initial reports stated that all twelve crew and 35 passengers were rescued by local boats and United States Navy personnel.[2][5] But later on, the body of one male passenger was found by rescue divers searching the accident site. Air Niugini stated that the deceased passenger had been confirmed to have evacuated the aircraft.[6] Nine people were taken to hospital.[7][8] However, the preliminary report into the accident states that the body of the deceased passenger was recovered from the aircraft.[9] Six people were seriously injured.[9] Some of the injured sustained broken bones. It was reported that there were thunderstorms in the vicinity of the airport at the time of the accident.[10] The aircraft subsequently sank in 30 metres (100 ft) of water.[5]


The Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission has opened an investigation into the accident.[11]

The Department of Transportation, Communications & Infrastructure in the Federated States of Micronesia opened an investigation. A preliminary report was issued on October 26.[9]


  1. ^ "Press statement - Air Niugini Facebook".
  2. ^ a b c d "P2-PXE Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  3. ^ Flight Operations in raining conditions - with special reference to the Indian sub-continent. Flight Safety Notes. [Retrieved 29 September 2018];(December 2007).
  4. ^ "Preliminary Report AIC 18-001" (PDF). Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b White, Matthew R. "U.S. Navy UCT 2 Renders Assistance Following Plane Crash in Chuuk". United States Navy 7th Fleet. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Air Niugini plane crash turns fatal after divers find missing passenger's body". ABC News. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Air Niugini Says All on Board Rescued After 737 Lands in Chuuk Lagoon". Australian Aviation. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  8. ^ Dye, Josh (28 September 2018). "PNG-bound Air Niugini flight lands in lagoon". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Preliminary Report 18-1001" (PDF). Department of Transportation, Communications & Infrastructure. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  10. ^ Hradecky, Simon. "Accident: Niugini B738 at Chuuk on Sep 28th 2018, touched down in sea short of runway". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Passengers safe after Air Niugini flight crashes into sea in Micronesia". Reuters. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.