Dozens of passengers have been injured after an American Airlines jet overshot the runway in Jamaica whilst trying to land in heavy rain. The fuselage of the Boeing 737-800 broke in two pieces on impact, however there are no initial reports of fatalities.
AA spokesman, Tim Wagner, said the Boeing 737-800, which is one of the airline’s newest models, was carrying 148 passengers and six crew members.
The flight was coming from Washington D.C. and had stopped in Miami en route.
According to early media reports, four people have been hospitalized with broken bones, but no life-threatening injuries. These included the pilot who suffered a broken arm.
Daryl Vaz, the country’s information minister, told local media that 40 people were injured. He said “the airplane is broken in two” and that 29 people were taken to Kingston Public Hospital. Others with minor injuries were treated at the airport.
Those getting off the plane were bleeding, mostly from the upper parts of their bodies. Officials did not know the extent of the injuries.
AA said it was still checking injury reports and would issue an update later Wednesday.
Initial reports indicate that the aircraft crashed through a fence at the end of the runway and ended up partly on a roadway.
The flight reportedly went through high turbulence and thunderstorms on the way from Miami toward Jamaica. One passenger was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that there was turbulence during the trip, and the plane seemed to bounce or skid after touchdown.
Ms Abaurrea of Keene, said: “All of a sudden, when it hit the ground, the plane was kind of bouncing, someone said the plane was skidding and there was panic,”
Ms Abaurrea said she had pain in her neck and back from the impact and her husband had pain in his shoulder caused by falling luggage, but were otherwise unhurt. “I’m a little bit shook up but OK,” she said.
She said the entire flight was very turbulent, with the crew being forced to halt the beverage service three times before finally giving it up. Just before landing the pilot warned of more turbulence but said it likely wouldn’t be much worse than what they had experienced so far, she said.
Another passenger, Naomi Palmer, who was seated in D8 near the front, told The Jamaica Observer: “The plane crashed and broke almost in front of me.”
In recent years, planes running off the end of runways have become the most frequent type of commercial airline accidents.