Striking footage from the scene shows people being rescued in boats from the half-submerged plane, in images reminiscent of the 2009 crash-landing in New York City known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
The airline said in a brief statement everybody aboard the Boeing 737 plane was able to safely evacuate, and the airline was making all efforts to ensure the ongoing safety of the passengers and meet their immediate needs.
The airline did not immediately say how many people were aboard the plane, where it was traveling from, or what caused the crash.
Local news reports indicated between 40 and 50 people were aboard.
Air Niugini is the national airline of Papua New Guinea and has been in operation since 1973. The fleet includes Boeing 767 and 737 jets for international routes, according to the airline, as well as Fokker F-100 aircraft, Q400 and Dash 8 aircraft for challenging local terrain.
Micronesia, located north of Australia and east of the Philippines, is home to just over 100,000 people. It has close ties with the U.S. under an agreement known as a compact of free association.
In 2009, both engines on a US Airways jet failed after striking a flock of geese during takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles safely landed their powerless plane on the Hudson River.
By NICK PERRY, Associated Press