December 22, 2009 — An American Airlines plane carrying 154 people slid across a runway and crashed after a failed landing at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, on Tuesday night. According to investigators, the Boeing 737-800 attempted to touch down in heavy rain when it bounced and began to skid on the slippery runway. The aircraft then ran off the runway, hit a fence and crashed into a sandy embankment less than 15 feet from the Caribbean Sea. Miraculously, no one was killed in the crash although airport officials said four passengers were seriously injured and another 44 were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.
The aircraft, operating as American Airlines Flight 331, broke apart during the accident, losing both engines and severely cracking the fuselage on impact. Passengers described the panic and chaos as the airplane careened down the runway, with overhead luggage tumbling around them. Rescuers were photographed pulling bloodied passengers out of the wreckage and onto the beach in the pouring rain. One witness described the air smelled like smoke and burning jet fuel.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have sent a team of investigators to analyze the accident and determine whether the plane should have been landing in such bad weather.
Flight 331 was carrying 148 passengers and six crew members. It had originated at Reagan National Airport in Washington and then took off from Miami International Airport before arriving to Kingston.
American Airlines Flight 331 Following a Failed Landing