Pulverized Kaneohe Bay Coral Linked to Downed Navy Plane’s Landing Gear

On December 4th, a Navy P-8A Poseidon had a mishap at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, causing damage to the surrounding coral reef. Kim Fuller, an aquatic biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ division of aquatic resources, reported that the front landing gear of the plane “sort of pulverized the coral” when it came to rest, while anchors from a boom set up around the downed aircraft also caused damage to the reef.

The DLNR conducted an initial review on Sunday, and divers will continue to assess the damage to the reef. Fuller stated that the majority of the worst damage has been observed, and the focus now is on returning larger broken “finger coral” pieces to their original positions in the hope that they will regrow. Some pieces may need to be repositioned with epoxy.

The boom, anchored at 15 points by Marines, also caused damage to the coral. Additionally, a threatened green sea turtle was found dead between two booms with tumors on its skin. Navy Rear Adm. Kevin Lenox, in charge of the recovery of the P-8A, confirmed that the plane skidded off the runway two weeks ago in rainy weather, leading to the temporary cessation of fixed-wing aircraft operations.

The commander of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Col. Jeremy Beaven, expressed willingness to provide adequate time to the DLNR for their assessment and restoration work, ensuring they do not feel rushed in their efforts.


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