A Boeing 737-800 skids off the runway on landing, then into St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida. The accident happened around 9:40 p.m. local Florida-time on Friday.
137 passengers and seven crew members were on board, along with four pets. 21 passengers were taken to the hospital for minor injuries but they were later released. Fortunately, this could have been a lot worse.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that they are on the scene to investigate. Of course, it’s way too early to comment on any conclusion to the accident at this very early time.
Officials call this “the miracle on the St. Johns River”, reminiscing of the U.S. Airways flight 1549 Hudson River landing in New York a few years ago.
What led to the event?
According to Cheryl Bormann, one of the passengers on board, the airplane made a bounced landing.
The approach was conducted through thunder and lightning conditions.
Bormann says that the landing was very hard. Then the airplane bounced, touched down again, and then came to an abrupt stop.
Passengers then left the airplane through the over-wing exit and remained there. Since the plane was sitting in the water, the passengers were unsure of whether they were on the river or in the ocean. There was rain, thunder, and lightning in the surrounding area.
The flight’s origination
This was a civilian charter flight, booked by the military to transport personnel between Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba to the Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida.
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is nicknamed “Gitmo”, but its official name is
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay
Since the year 2002, the naval base has served as a military prison. It’s a detention camp for unlawful combatants (terrorists) who were captured in places such as Afganistan and Iraq after 911.
U.S. NAVY credits the rescue crews for their job
NAS JAX (Naval Air Station Jacksonville) Commanding Officer Captain Mike Conner credited the rescue crews for a good job.
Captain Conner calls it a miracle. Further, he states that a lot can be said about the people who helped the passengers off the airplane. It could have been a lot worse.
Miami Air International Airlines
The flight was operated by Miami Air International, a popular charter airline.
As a charter operator, the airline had contracted with the military to fly this flight.
The charter airline is based in Miami-Dade County in Florida. It serves different groups of operators, such as the United States military, cruise operators, and professional sports teams. Their fleet consists of Boeing 737-800’s.