04 May, 2019

Miami Air International 737-800 overruns runway in Florida - 21 injured

An investigation is underway into how a Boeing 737-800 of Miami Air International carrying 143 people came to skid off the runway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida into the St. Johns River on Friday evening.

The jet had was transporting 136 passengers and 7 crew and had just arrived from the US Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba at 2140 local time. According to local weather sources, there were thunderstorms in the area at the time the aircraft was attempting to land. 

The sheriff's office in Jacksonville confirmed that every person on the aircraft was accounted for and alive. Some 21 people were taken to a local hospital to be treated although their condition is said to be 'good'.   

Cheryl Bormann, a passenger on the aircraft told the US news channel CNN that the aircraft had been four hours and made a "really hard landing" in Jacksonville during thunder and lightning. "We came down, the plane literally hit the ground and bounced. It was clear the pilot did not have total control of the plane. It bounced again."

According to Bormann, the jet veered sideways and off the runway. "We were in the water, we couldn't tell where we were, whether it was a river or an ocean.". She also said that the majority of passengers were connected to the military and helped each other out of their seats and onto a wing, where they were helped into a raft.

Miami Air International operates a regular charter service between the Norfolk naval station in Virginia and Guantanamo Bay via Jacksonville each week.  It transports a mix of military personnel and civilian contractors, it is not known at this stage how many civilians were on the 737-800 that ended into the rive on Friday.    

The US National Transportation Safety Board confirmed it had sent a team of 16 investigators to the scene to find out what happened in Jacksonville. The team has expertise in aircraft operations, structures, powerplants, human performance, weather, airports and other areas. 

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