Once aboard, my seat, 24F on the right side of the rear of the plane was comfortable and the flight attendants were courteous and pleasant. The safety briefing was pretty much like every safety briefing I’ve ever heard with one variance from my experience. Instead of instructing passengers on how to use the exit doors, the briefing said that a crew member would open the doors in the event of an emergency. I thought that was odd at the time but didn’t think much more of it.
When one of the cockpit crew members made the announcement that we were beginning our descent into Chuuk, the flight attendants immediately had the passengers open their window shades, fasten seatbelts and put seats in the upright position. It seemed quite a bit early as there was still 25 minutes left in the flight at that point but it took nothing to comply. As the Chuuk lagoon islands began to appear among aqua sea set against blue sky and white fluffy clouds, I began to search the lagoon for white caps.
The evening before my flight a friend posted a weather report for Chuuk on Facebook that indicated a low pressure system with possible cyclonic activity so I was vigilant. It carried a travel advisory for boaters. I don’t know what I thought I’d do if I saw white caps but the lagoon was calm so I relaxed into the descent. As we approached the runway, ominous grey clouds appeared and I watched the vapor trails coming off of the wing. I could clearly see the lagoon islands in the distance and spotted the Truk Stop dock as we continued to descend, and descend and descend. I had just thought that we were much lower over the water than on any of my many previous landings in Chuuk when the left wing dipped a little bit as, in my experience sometimes happens as pilots adjust to cross winds on approach to the runway.
Suddenly there was impact, an extremely hard impact, and an amazingly quick stop. My first thought was that we
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