Animals riding in the cargo hold die in a freak accident when the Boeing 737 skidded and took on water.
Authorities and navy divers on Sunday recovered containers holding the dead bodies of dogs and cats that drowned in the cargo section.
The incident happened when the plane slid off the runway and landed straight into the nearby St. Johns River Friday evening.
The rescue team did their level best to enter the plane but did not do it due to safety reasons. The water had completely engulfed the cargo department.
This was obstructing the view of the divers from taking a clear look at the pets.
Bruce Landsberg, NTSB vice chairman, said, “Yeah, there wasn’t much we could do to save the pets at that point of time. There were zero pet containers visible to the naked eye.”
The plane, Miami Air International, coming from the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba, skidded during landing at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station around 9:40 p.m.
Everyone on the plane, including the seven crew members and 136 passengers survived the crash without any major injuries.
21 people were taken to the hospital following the accident, and only one –a 3-month-old baby was hospitalized.
Investigating The Crash
A sixteen-member expert team investigated the crash and later recovered the plane’s “black box.” At the time, Boeing 737 was still in the water and its nose was broken due to the impact.
Bruce told reporters on Sunday that team had taken the data recorder back to the head office for analysis. This is not an old plane and it will be much easier for the experts to check.
The plane’s cockpit voice recorder is under water and it won’t be possible to recover the same until the plane is removed.
One question that investigators are trying to understand is why the plane changed the landing direction. Planes at the runway were landing in the west. The Boeing 737 wanted to land in the opposite direction.
Bruce said officials are also investigating whether the pilots were coming in too fast.
A spokesman said the plane was regularly operated. The Jacksonville Fire division had trained its units for a similar event earlier Friday.
Mayor Curry said that teams had immediately contained any fuel from contaminating. The White House was ready to offer any help, Mayor Curry said.
In a press statement released, Boeing extended its “good wishes to all parties involved in the rescue.”
As per reports, the Boeing 737-800 is the oldest of the lot. While operating a private trip in 2012, this same plane slipped off the runway and got stuck. It was safely pulled out.
Initial reports claim the plane landed in a heavy thunderstorm, with heavy rain and lightning.
Bruce noted that the Boeing 737-800 had no record of accidents.
Miami Air International Offers $2500 USD as a “Goodwill move”
The operator has decided to offer $2500 USD to all the passengers. The operator also said accepting the offer will in no way affect their right.