The US Navy says it will cost $1.5 million to recover the jet that crashed into a Hawaiian coral reef two weeks ago.
The Navy plans to use inflatable cylinders to lift and roll the jet off the rock it crashed on Nov. 20.
Leading the rescue effort is the commander of Carrier Strike Group 3, Rear Adm. Kevin Lennox said on Friday that the move could be carried out without further damaging the reef.
The navy released underwater video on Wednesday showing the plane’s landing gear wheels resting on pieces of crushed coral and much of the rest of the plane floating above rocks in Kaneohe Bay.
A Navy team removed nearly 2,000 gallons (7,500 liters) of fuel from the plane.
Once the plane is removed, Hawaii state officials will inspect the reef for damage.
Kaneohe Bay is home to marine life ranging from coral reefs and sharks to octopus and fish. An ancient Hawaiian fish pond in the area is being restored by community groups.
After Hurricane Florence in 2015, contractors accomplished a similar feat when they removed a 1,000-ton (907 metric ton) barge from sensitive seaweed habitat on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The aircraft weighs about 60 tons (54 metric tons).
The Navy considered floating the jet within crane range of the runway and then landing the aircraft. But Lennox said the inflatable cylinder option is the safest method, will have no effect on the coral reef and is not expected to harm the aircraft.
The jet is in good condition and the Navy hopes to fly again, Lennox said.
The Navy uses the P-8A to search for submarines, conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The Boeing-made aircraft is assigned to Patrol Squadron 4, stationed at Whidbey Island in Washington state. A detachment from Whidbey Island was sent to Hawaii to conduct patrols of the force near Hawaii.