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Investigation Continues Into Boeing 737 Runway Excursion In Florida

Plane Finally Removed From Shallow Water In The St. Johns River At NAS JAX

The NTSB is continuing its investigation into a runway excursion which occurred Friday night involving a Boeing 737-800 landing at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. The plane overran the runway and came to a stop in shallow water in the St. Johns River. The plane was removed from the river Tuesday.

All 136 passengers and seven crew on board the airplane were safely evacuated, but news reports indicate that several pets that were being transported in the plane's cargo hold did not survive. The flight had originated at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The Florida Times Union reports that, according the the NTSB, the Miami International airliner touched down at 163 knots with a 15-knot tailwind. Investigators were still working Tuesday to recover the plane's Cockpit Voice Recorder, which the board hopes will provide information as to why the crew made a last-minute change to land on Runway 10 rather than Runway 28. ATC advised the crew that Runway 10 was equipped with arresting gear, which shortened the runway from 9,000 to 7,800 feet. The left engine of the plane sheared off as a result of the accident, and has also been recovered from the shallow water.

The 1,200 gallons of fuel that remained on board the plane at the time of the incident slowed the salvage effort. The fuel was offloaded by late Monday night. The plane's landing gear also was wedged in the river bottom about 4 to 6 feet below the surface. The jet was finally floated off the bottom and moved by barge to a secure location so that the investigation could continue

The runway at NAS JAX was reopened for departures on Monday, but remained closed to arrivals until the wreckage was removed from the river, according to base commander Capt. Mike Conner.

Bruce Landsberg, NTSB vice chairman, said during a media briefing that the maintenance log for the plane indicated that the thrust reverser on the left engine was "inoperative", but did not say if that was being considered as a contributing factor in the incident.

(US Navy image)

FMI: Source report


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