January 06, 2006

By Jessica Chapman
The Kaselehlie Press

An Asia Pacific Airlines cargo plane dropped an undetermined amount of U.S. mail destined for the FSM and Guam as it was departing Majuro on December 22. "I'm sure it's not more than a couple hundred pounds," said Robert Walker, vice president and general manager of the airline.

However, until the plane's remaining mail is fully scanned, Walker said, it will not be clear exactly how much may remain missing.

According to news reports, an unsecured cargo door resulted in the deposit of a stream of mail from the Boeing 727 as it took off from Majuro International Airport. Items fell onto the runway and into surrounding waters. The Pacific Daily News reported in its December 30 edition that 23 parcels and items fell from the plane.

An independent carrier, APA contracts with Continental Airlines to carry U.S. mail throughout the region. APA cargo planes currently arrive twice a week in Pohnpei. Walker said the plane returned to Majuro when it was notified of the problem. Some of the stray mail was recovered.

The U.S.P.S. in Honolulu is investigating the incident. Via email they said "...we encourage customers who have concerns that their mail may have been affected to contact their local post office to file the appropriate claims forms."