I have always been curious what an aircraft would do if it needed to make an emergency landing while in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean or any large body of water? I have heard there were small islands in the middle of the ocean for situations like these but I can’t confirm if what is true?
The Pacific does have many small islands that can be used for landing but in the Atlantic it’s really North Atlantic countries like, Newfoundland, Iceland and Greenland . Regardless in most cases (obviously depending on the emergency) ALL flights over water have procedures that require them to be able to make land. Most modern aircraft must be ETOPS (Extended Twin Engine Operational Performance Standards, aka Engines Turn Or People Swim) certified so in the event of a single engine failure they can make it to an ETOPS alternate airport. If the plane has more than 2 engines ETOPS is not required (except for planes built after 2015). The reality is modern aircraft are so reliable and have so many redundant systems that type of emergency diversion is extremely rare.
The longest over water route without land underneath or near it is from the west coast to the Hawaiian Islands. It is four hours of flight time with absolutely no land in sight. While ETOPS procedures do cover an engine failure and most other emergencies, they do not account for really severe emergencies like fires, dual engine failures, fuel exhaustion, etc. In the case of one of these severe emergencies where it was impossible to make it to land, an aircraft would be forced to ditch into the ocean.
Aircraft are designed to float for a certain amount of time that will allow the passengers and crew to escape into life rafts. Over-water equipped aircraft all carry several life rafts, in addition to the emergency slides also detaching and acting as life rafts. Each life raft carries with it a survival kit and emergency locater transmitter. Crew members go through yearly training on this equipment.