It is being hailed as the miracle on St Johns with 143 passengers and crew surviving a plunge off the runway at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida.
The Miami Air International Boeing 737-800 on a flight from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba skidded on landing at Jacksonville NAS in a thunderstorm then ploughed 300mtrs over the sand and gravel overrun and into the St Johns River.
The pilot landed on runway 10 – towards due east – which is 9000ft long with a 1000ft overrun before the St John’s River.
AirlineRatings.com on CNN below.
The thunderstorm with heavy rain and poor visibility was a major contributor which would have impacted the braking of the 737.
It is also reported in Aviation Herald that there was a tailwind of about 25km/hour due to the thunderstorm.
Typically aircraft land and take-off into the wind and tailwind of 25km/hr would be unacceptable.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted that all 143 – 136 passengers and 7 crew – aboard, military and families had been accounted for.
There were some minor injuries and 21 were taken to hospital.
The Jackson NAS firefighters were quickly on the scene and attended to leaking fuel that could have ignited.
The 737 was on a military charter from NAS Jacksonville to Guantanamo Bay and return.
The charter flight took off at 7.14pm local on Friday from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and landed at 9.41pm.
Flight distance was 1316km and the flight time 2.28 minutes.
The 737 is registered N732MA and was delivered new to Miami Air International in April 2001.
Miami Air International is a small charter operator and performs military charters, as well as chartering out, its aircraft to other operators.
It was formed in 1990 and is based in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
It also operates charter flights for groups that include cruise operators, professional sports teams, entertainers, political candidates and the US government.
The crash could not have come at a worse time for Boeing, whose 737 MAX, the newest model in the 737 family, is grounded after two tragic crashes with a new software system being implicated.
However, the 737-800NG that crashed has an excellent safety record and there are over 7,000 flying across the world.