The US Navy has announced that fuel was extracted from a spy plane that crashed into an environmentally sensitive bay off the Hawaiian island of Oahu earlier this month.
The P-8A Poseidon aircraft crashed into the water on 20 November after ploughing off the runway at a US Marine Corps base, military officials said.
Rear Admiral Kevin Lenox told reporters that the Navy team had extracted more than 2,000 gallons of fuel aboard and continued to work on a plan to remove the aircraft from the water. No fuel was released into Kaneohe Bay.
The jet is currently sitting on a mixture of coral and sand.
Rear Admiral Lenox said that the Navy was looking into possibly floating the jet and then lifting it onto the runway.
“There might have been some minor damage. We haven’t really looked at where it impacted, but from what we can tell from the ground, I mean there is no massive chunks missing,” Commander Mark Anderson said, according to CNN. “There’s nothing, you know, that is of grave concern right now.”
Nine people were on board the plane, but there were no casualties in the incident, Marine Corps spokesperson 1st Lt Hailey Harms said at the time.
The US Navy’s Third Fleet said the jet, which is used for US Navy operations and can carry both torpedoes and cruise missiles, was “on a detachment in support of maritime homeland defence” at the time of the crash.
The aircraft is normally based in Whidbey Island, Washington, a military spokesperson said, and can also be used to hunt for submarines and for intelligence-gathering missions. P-8 aircraft are also flown by the Australian, New Zealand, British, Norwegian and Indian militaries, according to Boeing.
The cause of the crash remains unclear and an investigation is underway.
In 2020, a US Navy P-8A aircraft was intercepted by two Russian Su-35 aircraft while flying over international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the US Navy sent a P-8A aircraft through the Taiwan Strait, prompting China to scramble its fighter jets, escalating tensions between Taiwan and China.