US plane overshoots Jamaica runway, dozens hurt

10:17, December 24, 2009      

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An American Airlines Boeing 737 carrying 154 passengers and crew overshot the runway while landing in driving rain in Jamaica late on Tuesday, cracking its fuselage and halting just short of the Caribbean sea, authorities and eyewitnesses said.

An American Airlines Boeing 737 sits with cracks in its fuselage at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, December 23, 2009. (Agencies)

None of the 148 passengers and six crew on board Flight AA 331 were killed, but Jamaican officials said 90 were taken to local hospitals, where they were treated for broken bones, cuts and bruises, as well as shock.

"The situation is pretty much under control, there have been no fatalities and the injured are being cared for," Jamaica's Information Minister Daryl Vaz told journalists.

"So far 90 persons have turned up at hospitals with broken bones, cuts and bruises," he said.

An American Airlines spokeswoman, Andrea Huguely, said at least three people were kept at the hospitals for observation and treatment. Others were treated and released.

An American Airlines Boeing 737 sits with a damaged engine at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, December 23, 2009. (Agencies)

"Upon impact, the aircraft hit an embankment when it overran the runway, so the landing gear and the engines detached from the aircraft, as they are designed to do. The left wing tip also broke away from the aircraft," she said.

"The fuselage is intact, but there are cracks in two areas," she added.

One passenger told a local radio station in Kingston that the flight was "bumpy along the way and the landing was terrible.

"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," he said.

"The plane crashed and broke almost in front of me," another passenger, Naomi Palmer, told the Jamaica Observer.

The Caribbean island, a popular tourist destination, had been badly hit in recent days by rain and flooding, and authorities had reported one local child drowned.

The Jamaica incident is the second runway mishap for American this month. On December 13, the wing of an American MD-82 struck the runway in Charlotte, North Carolina, while landing, causing damage to the plane. No one was hurt.

An American Airlines Boeing 737 sits with cracks in its fuselage at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, December 23, 2009. (Agencies)

Source: Agencies
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