All 143 safe after Boeing 737 slides off runway into river

All 143 aboard a Boeing 737, above (Photo credit: Office of Sheriff Jacksonville Police), had a miraculous escape after the plane slid off a runway into a shallow river in Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday night after landing amid a thunderstorm.

Twenty-one people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.

It was not immediately known what caused the plane to veer off the runway and enter the St. Johns River. The plane did not submerge and it just rested in the water.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident which took place around 9.40 pm local time when the chartered plane from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba touched down at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

Boeing said it is cooperating with the NTSB’s investigation.

Capt. Michael P. Connor of Naval Air Station Jacksonville praised rescuers for quickly arriving at the accident scene and helping passengers get off the plane into an inflated life raft.

Passengers said that after a hard landing, the plane bounced a few times before sliding into the river. Initially, they had no idea they were in water as it was raining amid lightning and thunder.

Boeing is under scrutiny after two 737 MAX models crashed in the past six months killing 346 people in total. The Boeing 737 that skidded into St. Johns River was not a MAX model.