Updated May 6, 2019

Plane skids off runway into river in Florida: Probe finds landing failure

The Boeing 737 aircraftthat slid off the runway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.

A Boeing 737 aircraft slid off the runway at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. Photo: U.S. Navy via Getty Images

Authorities investigating why a Boeing 737-800 carrying 143 people slid into shallow water in the St. Johns River after landing at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, uncovered a landing feature failure, officials said Sunday.

What's new: National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg told reporters a thrust reverser, which helps planes slow down upon landing, was found to be broken, per AFP. Investigators have recovered an undamaged flight data recorder, which was sent to Washington for analysis, according to Reuters.

The aircraft had been in maintenance and the maintenance log noted that the left-hand thrust reverser was inoperative.
— National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg

Details: Authorities said all 136 passengers and 7 crew members escaped alive in the incident, which occurred amid thunder and lightning about 9:40 pm local time Friday, Reuters reports. Investigators were examining whether the weather was a factor. Landers said they'd also examine the maintenance of the plane in the weeks before the incident "and the condition of the thrust reversers will obviously be of interest," per AFP.

  • Miami Air International is contracted by the military to run the service to and from Guantanamo Bay. The passengers included civilians and military members, commanding officer of NAS Jacksonville, Capt. Michael Connor said, per AP.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration said there were 2 "very minor" injuries," ABC News reports. A 3-month-old baby was hospitalized as a precaution, authorities said.
  • The Naval Air Station at Jacksonville said Sunday evening the bodies of a dog and 2 cats belonging to a military family were recovered from the aircraft.
  • Authorities said they were working to monitor and manage jet fuel that has leaked into the water.
  • Boeing said in a statement it's providing technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the NTSB.
Go deeper