UNITED STATES NEWS

US Navy plans to raise jet plane off Hawaii coral reef using inflatable cylinders

Dec 1, 2023, 9:08 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Navy plans to use inflatable cylinders to lift and roll a jet plane off a coral reef in Hawaii before removal from the ocean waters where the aircraft crashed on Nov. 20.

Rear Adm. Kevin Lenox, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 3 who is leading the salvage effort, said Friday he is confident the operation can be carried out without further damaging the reef.

The P-8A slammed into an environmentally sensitive bay about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Honolulu when it overshot the runway at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. None of the nine people on board at the time were injured. The Navy is investigating the mishap.

The Navy released underwater video on Wednesday showing landing gear wheels resting on parts of crushed coral and much of the rest of the plane floating above the reef in Kaneohe Bay.

A Navy team already has removed nearly all of the estimated 2,000 gallons (7,500 liters) of fuel that was on the aircraft.

Lenox said he expected the removal operation to get underway on Saturday. He didn’t want to commit to a date when the work would be done given the weather and other conditions that could affect the timeline.

Contractors began sliding the bags under the plane on Friday. When inflated, the bags will float across the water toward the runway. When they reach land, machines will pull and roll them onto and across the runway.

Lenox said it’s possible one of the bags may touch a small band of coral but that is not guaranteed.

The force of the plane will be distributed across the entire area of the bags, so there will only be 3 to 5 pounds (1.3 to 2.3 kilograms) of pressure on any given point where they touch the ground, he said, noting that was significantly less than a person standing on the ground.

“We have high confidence that we will be able to execute this whole thing with no further impact to the ecosystem here,” Lenox said.

Hawaii state officials are due to examine the reef for damage once the plane is removed.

Kaneohe Bay is home to coral reefs and a range of marine life, from sharks to octopus and fish. The area hosts an ancient Hawaiian fishpond being restored by community groups.

Contractors performed a similar feat when they removed a barge weighing 1,000 tons (907 metric tons) from sensitive seagrass habitat in the Outer Banks of North Carolina after Hurricane Florence in 2015. The plane, about 60 tons (54 metric tons), is much lighter than the barge, Lenox said.

The Navy considered floating the jet within range of a crane on the runway and then lifting the plane onto land. But Lenox said the inflatable cylinder option was the safer method, was expected to have little to no effect on the coral and would not impact the aircraft.

The airplane is in good condition and the Navy hopes to get it flying again, Lenox said.

The Navy uses the P-8A, the military’s version of a 737 jet, to search for submarines and conduct surveillance and reconnaissance.

The Boeing-made plane is assigned to Patrol Squadron 4 stationed at Whidbey Island in Washington state. A separate crew from Whidbey Island has deployed to Hawaii to take over the squadron’s patrol missions near Hawaii.

United States News

FILE - Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchora...

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

UN approves more transparent procedures for people and entities to get off its sanctions lists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved more transparent procedures Friday for the hundreds of individuals, companies and other entities who are subject to U.N. sanctions and want to get off the blacklists. The resolution, co-sponsored by Malta and the United States, also authorizes the establishment of a new informal working […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Dec. 13...

Associated Press

Longtime US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had pancreatic cancer, has died

Longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who helped lead federal efforts to protect women from domestic violence and recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, has died. She was 74. Lillie Conley, her chief of staff, confirmed Friday night that Jackson Lee, who had pancreatic cancer, had died. The Democrat had represented her Houston-based […]

6 hours ago

Stools line the bar at Elwood's Liquor and Tap on Thursday, July 18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wis. This w...

Associated Press

Outside the RNC, small Milwaukee businesses and their regulars tried to salvage a sluggish week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jay Nelson was standing outside the convenience store he manages in downtown Milwaukee when one of his regular customers walked by on her daily stroll around the neighborhood. “I’ve been telling people to come and buy even just a bottle of wine,” she said, stretching out her arms. “I hope it helps.” […]

6 hours ago

Descendants of Nelson Bell, brothers Milford Fonza, front left, and Elmer Fonza, front right, surro...

Associated Press

In a California gold rush town, some Black families are fighting for land taken from their ancestors

COLOMA, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny town where the California gold rush began, Black families are seeking restitution for land that was taken from their ancestors to make way for a state park now frequented by fourth graders learning about the state’s history. Their efforts in Coloma, a town of around 300 people that’s […]

6 hours ago

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a ...

Associated Press

Russia convicts US journalist of spying in a trial widely seen as politically motivated

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was convicted Friday of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in a maximum-security prison on charges that his employer and the U.S. government have rejected as fabricated.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

US Navy plans to raise jet plane off Hawaii coral reef using inflatable cylinders