The flight data recorder has been recovered from the Miami Air International Boeing 737-800 that skidded off the end of the runway at Jacksonville Florida and into the St Johns River.
All 143 passengers and crew on board the aircraft – a charter carrying personnel from the Guantanamo military base in Cuba – survived the crash.
A number of pets in the cargo bay were lost in the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board says the cockpit voice recorder still has to be recovered from the wreckage which is lying in the shallows.
Investigators are examining local weather at the time of the crash as well as the condition of the runway. CNN reported that the Jacksonville runway is un-grooved. A grooved runway allows water to flow off faster than a smooth runway in the event of heavy rain, according to NTSB vice chairman Bruce Landsberg.
CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said a “weak tropical disturbance” had created scattered thunderstorms Friday evening across north-eastern Florida:
“Flying around or through areas of convection can be dangerous as it can create heavy turbulence in the air and a wet runway, leading to the threat of hydroplaning upon landing,” he said.
Simon Hradecky from The Aviation Herald reported on the accident: “A Miami Air International Boeing 737-800, registration N732MA performing flight GL-293 from Guantanamo Bay Naval Air Station (Cuba) to Jacksonville Naval Air Station,FL (USA) with 136 passengers and seven crew, landed on Jacksonville NAS’s runway 10 at 21:42L (01:42Z May 4) but overran the end of the runway and came to a stop in the shallow waters of St. John’s River about 380 meters/1250 feet past the end of the runway and was partially submerged.
“All occupants were able to evacuate the aircraft, 22 occupants received minor injuries, one was taken to a hospital and released the following day. Jacksonville’s Sheriff Office reported Marine Units were called in to assist rescue. All persons on board are alive and accounted for. There were minor injuries, a number of people were transported to a hospital. The office later added 21 people were taken to hospitals with non-critical injuries.
“The airport reported the aircraft crashed into the river past the end of the runway, about 100 feet off the paved surface.
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“Jacksonville’s Mayor reported the aircraft landed during a rainstorm with low visibility, which may be a factor into the accident.
“The NTSB have opened an investigation and dispatched an investigation team on site. The flight data recorder has been recovered.
“On May 4th 2019 the NTSB reported in their press conference that 16 investigators have been dispatched to join this major investigation.
“The aircraft went off the right edge of the runway near the end of the runway and impacted a seawall before coming to a stop in the river. The runway is not grooved. The bottom half of the aircraft is covered with water. A number of pets carried in the cargo bays have perished.
“The flight data recorder is undamaged and is currently being read out. The CVR is currently under water and the NTSB cannot get to it until the aircraft has been moved.
“The runway had been renovated in 2016 and has a “crown”, higher elevation around the centre line, so that the water runs off the side of the runway.
“The airfield features a RNAV approach (no ILS available) or a SAR approach.”
Jacksonville Naval Air Station features a runway 10/28 of 9003 feet/2740 meters length, landing distance available on runway 10 is 8006 feet/2440 meters. The airport features RNAV and TACAN approaches (as well as SAR approaches) to both runways 10 and 28.
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