The P-8A That Ended Up In Water In Hawaii Has Been Recovered From Sea


P-8 recovered
The P-8A Poseidon sits on the runway of Marine Corps Air Station Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Dec. 3. (Image credit: U.S. Navy)

A team of military and civilian experts has successfully raised the P-8A Poseidon airplane from Kaneohe Bay.

The U.S. Navy has completed the recovery of the P-8A maritime patrol aircraft 169561 YD-561, that overshot the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, coming to rest on coral around 50 feet offshore on Nov. 20, 2023.

The operations to raise the Poseidon from the sea began at 06.30AM on Dec. 2, 2023. The aircraft was floated adjacent to the runway by 10.18 AM. According to the U.S. Navy, the last portion of the airframe, the nose wheel, lifted out of the water at 7 PM on the same day.

The recovery was carried out by a multidisciplinary team made of military from Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, who worked alongside local and off-island specialists supporting Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Supervisor of Salvage (SUPSALV).

“Our team went through a detailed planning process to develop the best course of action to get the P-8 out of the bay as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Rear Adm. Kevin P. Lenox, the salvage operation’s on-scene commander in an official statement. “The entire process took 13 hours.  Most of the day was spent making small adjustments to the roller bags and the aircraft position to minimize impact to the coral band adjacent to shore. At times it took us an hour to move the aircraft five feet.”

Following the extraction from the water, the aircraft will be cleaned and then inspected to assess the conditions of the airframe and internal sensors. Based on the results of the inspections, it will be decided whether the P-8 will be savaged to return to an airworthy status or will be scrapped and cannibalized.

The Poseidon crew involved in the mishap was assigned to Whidbey Island, Washington-based Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 “Skinny Dragons,” on a detachment to Hawii in support of maritime homeland defense. All 9 people on board (three pilots and six crewmembers – two officers and four enlisted) safely evacuated the aircraft and no injuries were reported.

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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