Pacific carrier Air Niugini has disclosed that it is searching for a missing passenger following the crash of a Boeing 737-800 as it attempted to land at Chuuk in Micronesia.
The airline had originally stated that all 35 passengers and 12 crew members had been able to evacuate the aircraft safely after it came down in the sea.
But Air Niugini has revealed that it is “unable to account” for one of the male passengers on board flight PX073.
“[We] are working with the local authorities, hospitals and investigators to locate this passenger,” says the airline.
While Air Niugini had first stated, in the aftermath of the accident, that it “can confirm” that all on board were able to safely evacuate, it now refers to “initial on-scene reports” that had “indicated” as much.
“The airline confirms that all other passengers and crew have been accounted for,” says the carrier, without specifying how it has ascertained this information.
It says that locating the missing passenger is the airline’s “primary concern”, alongside supporting the other occupants, and adds that it is working with embassy personnel and the passenger’s travel facilitator in order to contact his family.
Icelandair Group says its leasing subsidiary Loftleidir sub-leased the 737-800 (P2-PXE) involved in the 28 September crash to Air Niugini.
Flight Fleets Analyzer says the aircraft – manufactured in 2005 – was ordered by lessor CIT and originally delivered to Air India Express, later being leased to India’s Jet Airways.
Full circumstances of the accident are yet to become clear.