NTSB says plane in river had no prior accidents

Photo by: NTSB
By  | 

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (KWTX) Authorities say the Boeing 737 that rolled off a runaway at a military base in Florida and ended up in a river has had no prior accidents.

National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg said Saturday that investigators will examine the aircraft, the environment and human factors in trying to discover why the plane rolled into the St. Johns River after landing at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Authorities say a 3-month baby was the only passenger hospitalized after a chartered jet ran into a river at a north Florida military base, and the infant was only admitted for observation as a precautionary measure.

The plane was carrying 143 people.

Landsberg says the plane hit a seawall made of stones Friday night before coming to a rest in the river.

The pavement on the runway wasn't grooved and Landsberg says investigators will look at how that played a role with reported heavy rain during the landing. He said grooves can help the water flow off the pavement more quickly.

Landsberg says the fact that the plane is partially in water presents a challenge.

Authorities say rescuers who searched for pets aboard a chartered jet that ran off a runway at a Florida military base and into a river didn't see any pet carrier above the water line.

Capt. Michael Connor, Naval Air Station Jacksonville's commander, said Saturday that the Boeing 737 carried two cats and a dog. He said the animals have yet to be found on the aircraft.

Connor says rescuers looked in the cargo area after the plane ended up in the St. Johns River but saw no crates and heard no animal noises.

When they returned later, they didn't see any pet carriers above water.

The military chartered plane landed hard in a thunderstorm Friday night at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, carrying passengers from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.