KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii — The U.S. Navy said Monday that it has removed nearly all of the fuel from a large plane that overshot a Hawaii runway and landed in an environmentally sensitive bay, but it doesn't have a timetable for when it will get the aircraft out of the water.
Rear Adm. Kevin Lenox said there was an estimated 2,000 gallons (7,500 liters) of fuel on board the P-8A.
“The team extracted all the fuel that they could get out of those tanks. This process was completed successfully without any fuel being released into the bay,” Lenox said at a news conference. Removing the fuel will reduce the risks for the rest of the salvage operation, he said.
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.
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.
Kaneohe Bay is home to coral reefs, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond and a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks.
There may have been some minor damage to the coral but there didn't appear to be “massive chunks missing,” Anderson said. Still, the focus…