Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

American Airlines plane overshoots runway in Jamaica


Roland Henry, Jamaica Observer: "People were nursing wounds with towels and shirts"

An American Airlines plane has overshot the runway on landing in heavy rain in the Jamaican capital Kingston, injuring more than 40 people, officials say.

The fuselage of flight AA 331, carrying 154 people from Miami, broke apart after the incident at Norman Manley International Airport.

Jamaican officials said 44 people had been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. Four were seriously hurt.

The plane came to a halt just 10-15ft (3-5m) from the sea.

American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said the fuselage of the Boeing 737-800 was cracked, the right engine had broken off and the main landing gear had collapsed.


The plane, which had originated in Washington DC, was carrying 148 passengers and six crew.

American Airlines plane in Kingston
A team of US investigators is heading to Jamaica

Passenger Pilar Abaurrea, from the US state of New Hampshire, told the Associated Press news agency of chaotic scenes as the plane hit the ground.

"All of a sudden... the plane was kind of bouncing, someone said the plane was skidding and there was panic," she said.

She said the pilot had warned of turbulence just before landing, but had said it probably would not be too serious.

Local journalist Roland Henry said survivors had thought the plane was landing normally before there was a series of jolts and luggage tumbled from overhead lockers.

One passenger told local media: "The plane did not seem to be slowing down when it landed. There was a loud sound, then a huge thud and then we started to feel rain coming through the top."

Another told Agence France-Presse news agency that the emergency services were too slow to respond: "We were there for about 20 minutes or more and there was no-one there. What if there was a fire? We would've all died."

Most of the injuries were believed to be cuts, bruises and some broken bones. None are thought to be life-threatening.

A team of investigators from the US National Transportation Safety Board is travelling to Jamaica to help with the investigation.

The airport was closed for a while but has now reopened, AP reported.

Map showing where crash happened

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Philadelphia Inquirer Officials probe why jet overshot runway - 2 hrs ago
Daily Star Dozens hurt as US jet misses runwayFull Story - 3 hrs ago
Pretoria NewsPainful landing for passengers as plane skids - 4 hrs ago
The Scotsman Scores injured as plane skids off runway and stops just short of sea - 10 hrs ago
CHINAdaily Plane misses Jamaica runway; 44 hurt - 10 hrs ago
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