"One would think they might be afraid of approaching the plane that's just crashed". The airline said the plane landed short of the runway.
Bill Jaynes, managing editor of a Micronesia-based newspaper, was on the plane when it hit the water.
The group was on its way to the Philippines for a vacation when the Boeing 737-800 aircraft crashed into the lagoon as it attempted to land at an airport in Chuuk Island on Friday, the DFA said in a statement.
SALT LAKE CITY ― Some say it's a scene reminiscent of the 2009 "Miracle on the Hudson".
"Luckily, it happened during the daytime", he said.
He said the initial concern for the Government and the airline was the safety and well being of passengers.
Harris said the plane left from the Micronesian island of Pohnpei about 700 kilometers (435 miles) to the east before ending up in the water at about 10 a.m. The Chuuk lagoon was a famous World War II battle site and dozens of Japanese vessels and planes are on the lagoon floor, now a tourist attraction for scuba divers.
Harris said he doesn't know what caused the crash landing or whether the pilots had alerted air traffic control of any problems.
The team had been in the area working on improving the wharf in Chuuk.
Air Niugini issued a statement saying "the weather was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of the incident".
The airline did not immediately respond to requests for more details about the passenger, such as his age or nationality.
Long after the locals with boats had gone to the rescue of crew and passengers then U.S. Navy Sailors joined to assist local authorities.
The aircraft was enroute to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, RNZ Pacific reported. Flight histories show the aircraft has made recent flights to Manila, Sydney and Singapore.
"Local authorities and the airline are continuing to investigate the location of the unaccounted passenger".
According to USA Today, the country has close ties to the United States under an agreement known as a compact of free association.
Chuuk Lagoon is a popular diving destination and the site of sunken Japanese ships that were bombed by the US military during World War II.