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Air Niugini, Papua New Guinea's national airline, released a press statement on Facebook that reads: "Air Niugini advises that its Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, P2-PXE landed short of the runway whilst landing at Chuuk Island of the Federated States of Micronesia this morning".

An Air Niugini plane has overshot a runway in Micronesia and plunged into the sea, with all passengers and crew reported to be safe, according to airport officials.

Pictures and video posted on social media showed locals scrambling in small boats to rescue the passengers and crew as waters covered most of the aircraft's fuselage.

"We don't really know what happened", he said.

All 36 passengers and 11 crew members onboard...

The Air Niugini passenger aircraft overshot the runway as it came into land and crashed into the water.

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The airline did not detail what caused the accident, which occurred at about 9:30am (2330 GMT Thursday).

Flight 73 flies between Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia and Port Moresby, stopping in Chuuk State. Water was waist-deep in the cabin before rescuers arrived, he said.

According to registration details supplied by the airline, the plane was built in 2005 and had previously been owned by Air India Express and Mumbai-based Jet Airways.

It's now unclear what caused the crash.

Locals rushed out to the scene of the crash on small boats to help rescue passengers, who escaped the aircraft and were standing on the wings.

Australia's ABC reported that Papua New Guinea's Accident Investigation Commission was preparing to send a team to the accident site.