SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The body of a passenger on a flight that crashed short of the runway on the tiny Pacific island nation of Micronesia last week has been discovered by divers, operator Air Niugini said on Monday in contrast to its initial report that all had survived.
The Papua New Guinea-based airline said on Friday all 47 passengers and crew on board had safely evacuated the Boeing Co 737 jet after it landed in a lagoon during heavy rain and reduced visibility.
Air Niugini said in a statement on Saturday that it could not account for one male passenger, but on Sunday it said other passengers had confirmed he had safely evacuated the plane and was seen in a local dinghy that transported passengers and crew to the shore.
In a statement on Monday evening, Air Niugini CEO Tahawar Durrani said the body of the unaccounted male passenger was discovered by divers during the day as they conducted a further search of the downed jet and the surrounding area in the lagoon.
“Our outreach team is in touch with the man’s family and we are making arrangements to repatriate his body,” Durrani said. “The circumstances surrounding this accident are now a matter for relevant authorities as they begin their task of investigating the events that led to the incident and the actions which followed.”