Air Niugini has confirmed that there was one fatality resulting from the undershoot accident involving a Boeing 737-800 that was attempting to land at Chuuk International airport on 28 September.
Chief executive Tahawar Durrani says that a body recovered by divers from the area around the aircraft in Chuuk Lagoon is that of a male passenger who had been unaccounted for.
He adds that the airline has been in touch with the passenger’s family and arrangements are being made to repatriate the body.
Air Niugini has issued a series of contradictory statements about the number of passengers and crew that evacuated the aircraft following the accident, in which the 737 undershot the runway as it was attempting to land following a flight from Phonpei.
Initially, it stated that all 47 occupants - comprised of 35 passengers and 12 crew - had successfully evacuated the aircraft, but later clarified that one passenger had not been accounted for.
Despite saying the missing passenger had been seen on one of the boats that assisting in the rescue operation, the carrier has now confirmed the fatality.
“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. We are committing all required resources to ascertain the factors that led to this accident,” says Durrani.