Pilots of a chartered jet that ran right into a river at a Florida navy base made a last-minute change to the runway the place they might make a touchdown, a federal investigator stated Sunday.
The pilots on the Miami Air Worldwide aircraft requested the change to air site visitors controllers shortly earlier than touchdown at Naval Air Station Jacksonville Friday evening.
The 9,000-foot-long runway the place the Boeing 737 landed was basically restricted to 7,800 toes since there was a wire barrier set as much as get well Navy plane in situations they couldn’t land on a service throughout coaching, stated Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the Nationwide Transportation Security Board.
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“We don’t know what they have been pondering or why they made that selection,” Landsberg stated at a information convention. “That shall be one of many issues we glance to search out out.”
NTSB investigators stated they hope a cockpit voice recorder helps them reply that query, however they’ve been unable to get well it but for the reason that a part of the aircraft the place it’s positioned continues to be underwater within the St. Johns River. Investigators additionally plan to interview the pilots, Landsberg stated.
Investigators have retrieved the flight knowledge recorder.
There have been no severe accidents on the flight from a navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, though nearly two dozen of the 143 passengers and crew members sought medical consideration for minor accidents.
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Capt. Michael Connor, the bottom’s commanding officer, stated all passengers had left the bottom Sunday on their option to their scheduled locations.
Some plane shall be allowed to depart the bottom and be relocated in order that pilots can proceed with their coaching, however Naval Air Station Jacksonville will basically be closed till the aircraft is faraway from the river, Connor stated.
The NTSB investigators are nonetheless deciding whether or not to relocate the aircraft off the bottom, which might require using a barge.
“How the plane is positioned now actually offers you limitations on thorough evaluation,” stated NTSB investigator John Lovell. “We aren’t conscious of the extent of the injury beneath the waterline as a result of it might probably’t be seen.”
All gasoline must be eliminated earlier than the aircraft might be moved, and that effort was difficult by the plane being partially submerged within the river, in addition to stormy climate on Sunday, Landsberg stated.
Officers stated they didn’t know what number of gallons of gasoline have spilled into the river, however engineers have been utilizing booms to include the gasoline and skimmers to hoover up contaminants.
Cellphone video from passenger Darwing Silva captured the quick, unsure moments after the chartered jet landed.
A passenger shouted “Be careful! Be careful!” as different passengers and crew members cautiously walked out on a wing of the aircraft. One other passenger shouted, “Child coming via!” and a person might be seen holding an toddler in his arms as he walks alongside the opposite passengers in yellow life jackets getting drenched by rain.
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Silva shared the video with Jacksonville tv station News4Jax.
Silva instructed the Tampa Bay Occasions that passengers initially have been instructed Friday the plane may not be match for takeoff. Then the flight was cleared to depart Cuba, however with the warning there could be no air con.
Despite the fact that the aircraft was scorching, there have been no different issues through the flight from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Silva stated.
The touchdown at Naval Air Station Jacksonville appeared regular at first, however then the aircraft didn’t cease on the runway. There was a loud bang, he hit his head on the ceiling, and the jet ended up within the water, Silva stated.
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He regarded down and his ankles have been in water, he stated, and he heard somebody yell, “Gasoline!”
Silva stated he helped usher individuals out an emergency door onto a wing.
On Sunday, Miami Air Worldwide, which operated the plane, notified passengers that their overhead baggage from the aircraft was obtainable for pickup. The airline stated passengers could be contacted straight as soon as their checked luggage have been retrieved.
Additionally Sunday, a small, one-propeller airplane crashed into the St. Johns River in Jacksonville. The pilot, who was the one individual on board and wasn’t injured, was rescued by a kayaker, in line with the Jacksonville Fireplace and Rescue Division.