Tactical

Navy to discuss removing plane from Hawaii bay

HONOLULU — U.S. Navy officials said Monday they would discuss how they plan to remove a large aircraft from an environmentally sensitive Hawaii bay after it overshot a runway last week.

The Navy placed two temporary floating barriers around the P-8A aircraft at its resting spot in the shallow waters of Kaneohe Bay to prevent any potential fuel spill or other contaminants from polluting the ocean.

Navy officials scheduled a news conference for Monday to provide an update.

On Thursday, sailors retrieved the data recorder and conducted a hydrographic survey to assess the plane’s structural integrity.

The Navy has not said whether the plane is sitting on sand or coral in the water. State environmental officials expect to conduct a damage assessment once the plane is removed. Kaneohe Bay is home to coral reefs, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond and a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks.

In addition to the floating barriers, the Navy has placed material around the plane to help absorb any potential pollutants and provide early warning of petroleum spills. The Navy has also kept a skimmer on standby so it can remove any pollutants quickly.

There were no injuries to the nine people who were on board when the plane landed in the water on Nov. 20. Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Honolulu.

The Navy uses P-8A planes manufactured by Boeing to search for submarines and to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance. The plane is a military version of the 737 passenger jet.

The plane is assigned to Patrol Squadron 4 stationed at Whidbey Island in Washington state. Patrol squadrons were once based at Kaneohe Bay but now deploy to Hawaii on a rotating basis.

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