Boeing 737 skids off runway into Florida river
May 5, 2019 6:56 am
A passenger plane slid off a runway in the US state of Florida on Friday night, ending up in a river after landing during a thunderstorm.
Twenty-one people were taken to hospital with minor injuries, officials said.
The chartered Boeing 737, operated by Miami Air International, had flown from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to a military base in the city of Jacksonville.
Passengers say it landed heavily in the storm, skidding into St John’s River.
The 136 passengers and seven crew members on board evacuated the Boeing 737-800 via its wings.
“No fatalities reported. We are all in this together,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry wrote on Twitter after the incident.
He also said President Donald Trump had offered assistance as the situation was developing.
One passenger on the plane, Cheryl Bormann, described the “terrifying” moment it slid off the runway.
“The plane literally hit the ground and bounced – it was clear the pilot did not have total control of the plane, it bounced again,” she told CNN.
“We were in the water. We couldn’t tell where we were, whether it was a river or an ocean,” she said, adding that she could smell jet fuel leaking into the river.
In a news conference, Captain Michael Connor, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, said it was a “miracle” that there had been no serious injuries or fatalities.
Miami Air International is contracted by the US military for its twice-weekly “rotator” service between the US mainland and Guantanamo Bay, Bill Dougherty, a base spokesman said.