KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — Tires from a large airplane that’s been stuck in a Hawaii bay for more than a week are resting on parts of a reef, according to video the U.S. Navy released Wednesday as it figures out a plan to remove the aircraft.
There were no injuries to the nine people who were on board when the plane landed Nov. 20 in shallow water just offshore of Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. The base is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Honolulu. The Navy is investigating what caused the plane to overshoot a runway.
The underwater footage shows the “two points of contact the aircraft has with the coral and the remainder of the aircraft floating above,” the Navy said. The video shows tires on the coral as tiny fish swim through rock crevices.
A Navy team removed nearly all of the estimated 2,000 gallons (7,500 liters) of fuel on the plane, Rear Adm. Kevin Lenox said Monday.
Cmdr. Mark Anderson, who is leading the Navy’s mobile diving and salvage unit working at the site, said the plane was sitting on a mixture of coral and sand. The left engine is resting on coral. The plane rises a little with the tide, so the full weight of the plane is not on the coral, he said Monday.
Kaneohe Bay is home to coral reefs, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond and a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks.
Sierra Club of Hawaii Executive Director Wayne Tanaka said the video underscores potential damage to the reef.
“It confirms what we’ve known: We have a jet plane sitting on coral reef,” he said. “We don’t know how much it moved, how much it could move.”
State environmental officials expect to conduct a damage assessment once the plane is removed.