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News Around the Fleet

News | Nov. 24, 2023

Update #3: P-8A Poseidon in Kaneohe Bay

By From U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs

During the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 23, U.S. Navy Sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 were busy in and around the downed P-8A Poseidon in waters just off the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, as part of the ongoing efforts to assess, investigate, and plan the safe, expeditious and environmentally protective recovery of the aircraft.

Divers from MDSU-1’s Company 1-3 were successfully able to recover the aircraft’s flight data recorder. While on shore, conducting an assessment, were members of the recently arrived Aircraft Mishap Board, assigned to investigate the incident to determine the cause and contributing factors of the mishap.

MDSU-1 divers also conducted a hydrographic survey around the aircraft to help further evaluate the aircraft’s structural integrity, as well as better assess the coral and marine environment around the aircraft. The survey will help the Navy plan a recovery operation that minimizes any impact to the critical ecosystem of Kaneohe Bay.

Personnel from Naval Sea Systems Command, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, as well as contracted salvage masters from SMIT Salvage also arrived on Oahu Wednesday to assist with the recovery planning and execution.

In addition to the environmental protection measures previously implemented by the Navy and base personnel, members from the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) are assisting the efforts to continuously monitor the marine environment around the aircraft.

With the utmost concern for mitigating any potential environmental impacts, some of the previously reported environmental protection measures employed or are at the ready include. 

  • Primary and secondary containment booms have been deployed, encircling the entire aircraft, to protect the surrounding marine environment. 
  • Hydrophobic absorbent material was also placed as a proactive preventative measure. This material not only helps absorb any potential pollutants but also serves as an effective indicator for the presence of petroleum products, allowing for swift identification and response.
  • A skimmer is on standby, ready to swiftly respond. This proactive measure enhances the ability to quickly remove any pollutants from the water surface, minimizing impact on the marine environment.
  • Specially trained base personnel continue to observe and monitor the area 24-hours-a-day to watch for any changes in the environment. In addition to looking for possible pollutants, personnel are also instructed to keep watch for wildlife and are trained to report any impacted wildlife or any species of interest that are observed in the vicinity

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. A P-8A and crew assigned to VP-40 “Fighting Marlins” arrived in Hawaii today to assume homeland defense coverage.

More information will be released as it becomes available. 

The U.S. Navy fact file on the P-8A Poseidon can be found at the following link: