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New Photos Show P-8A Being Prepared For Extraction From The Waters Of Kaneohe Bay

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P-8 extraction
Private industry diving and salvage experts working alongside U.S. Navy Sailors and Marines coordinate the placement of inflatable salvage roller bags as they position the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon for extraction on Dec. 2, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tania Guerrero)

The Navy currently estimates the cost of the salvage operation to be about $1.5 million.

A complex operation to recover the P-8A Poseidon that ended in water after overshooting the runway during landing at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, is currently underway. The P-8A 169561 YD-561, belonging to the VP-4 “Skinny Dragons” based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, came to rest around 50ft offshore, sitting on its nose and main landing gear on coral while also maintaining most of its buoyancy.

The P-8A crew, assigned to Whidbey Island, Washington-based Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 “Skinny Dragons,” was on a detachment in support of maritime homeland defense. There were nine crewmembers on board – three pilots and six crewmembers (two officer and four enlisted). All crewmembers safely evacuated the aircraft and no injuries were reported.

According to the U.S. Navy, the recovery effort commenced on Dec. 2, 2023 and involved a multidisciplinary team of military and civilian experts. The operation began at 6:30 AM LT, and the aircraft was floating on top of the roller bags by 8:30 a.m.

Private industry diving and salvage experts working alongside U.S. Navy Sailors with Company 1-2, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1, use inflatable salvage roller bags to position the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon for extraction from waters just off the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 2, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hunter Jones)

“The conditions have been ideal and the operation is progressing exactly as planned” said Rear Adm. Kevin P. Lenox, the salvage operation’s on-scene commander in a press release. “This morning we floated the aircraft and moved it towards land. As of early afternoon we have begun the stage where we pull the aircraft out of the water and onto the runway. Throughout the process, divers in the water have maintained close observation of the aircraft to ensure no further contact with coral or the sea bottom.”

Sailors and Marines are actively working with local and off-island specialists to recover the structurally intact P-8A Poseidon; environmental protection measures are in place, including 24/7 monitoring, containment booms, absorbent material, and a skimmer on standby. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tania Guerrero)

The Navy currently estimates the cost of the salvage operation to be about $1.5 million. Once extracted, the aircraft will be inspected and monitored until it is towed to a wash rack, where it will be cleaned with fresh water to begin the process of reclaiming and repairing the aircraft. While the airframe seems to be largely intact, it’s not clear whether it can return to service. And, above all, how much the repairs will cost.

Inflatable salvage roller bags are positioned under a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon as part of efforts to recover the aircraft from waters just off the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 2, 2023. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tania Guerrero)

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.





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