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.
“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.”
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.