KANEOHE BEACH, Hawaii — According to a video released by the U.S. Navy Wednesday, tires from a large aircraft that has been stuck in Hawaii bay for over a week rest on portions of a coral reef. The Navy is figuring out a way to remove the aircraft.
The nine passengers on the plane were not injured when it landed in shallow water Nov. 20, just off the coast of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, at Kaneohe Bay. The base is located about 10 miles away from Honolulu. The Navy is investigating the cause of the plane’s overshoot.
The Navy stated that the underwater footage “shows the two points of contact between the aircraft and the coral, as well as the rest of the aircraft floating over it.” The video shows tiny fish swimming through rock crevices as tires are placed on coral.
Kevin Lenox, Rear Admiral of the Navy, said that a Navy team had removed almost all the fuel estimated to be 2,000 gallons on the plane.
Cmdr. Mark Anderson, the leader of the Navy’s mobile dive and salvage unit that is working on the site, stated that the plane was laying on a mix of coral and sand. The left engine rests on coral. He said that the plane rises with the tide so its full weight is not resting on coral.
Kaneohe Bay contains corals as well as an ancient Hawaiian fishpond, and is a breeding area for hammerheads.
The Sierra Club of Hawaii’s Executive Director Wayne Tanaka says the latest underwater footage reinforces concerns that residents have previously expressed about possible damage to reefs.
He said, “It confirms our knowledge: we have a plane on coral reef.” “We don’t know how it moved or how much it can move.”
Environmental officials in the state expect to assess damage once the plane has been removed.