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Plane misses Jamaica runway; 44 hurt

[ 2009-12-24 13:07]     字号 [] [] []  
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Jet from Miami breaks apart upon landing during severe storm.

An American Airlines flight from Miami with more than 150 on board overshot a runway and skidded to the edge of the Caribbean Sea, injuring more than 40 people, officials said.

Flight 331 lurched down the runway of Norman Manley International Airport in the Jamaican capital on Tuesday night. Crews evacuated the passengers, who had to walk along a beach in the rain to board buses to reach the terminal.

Some 44 people were taken to nearby hospitals with broken bones and back pains, Information Minister Daryl Vaz said.

Four people were seriously injured, said Paul Hall, senior vice president of airport operations. American Airlines said only two were admitted to the hospital and nobody suffered life-threatening injuries.

The plane's fuselage was cracked, both engines broke off from the impact, and the left main landing gear collapsed, airline spokesman Tim Smith said. Most of the injuries were cuts and bruises, and none were life threatening, he said.

US federal investigators will analyze whether the plane should have been landing in such bad weather, Smith said, adding that other planes landed safely amid heavy rain.

It was carrying 148 passengers and a crew of six. The majority of those aboard were Jamaicans coming home for Christmas, Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz said.

Some passengers leaving the plane were seen with cuts on their faces or bloody lips. Some looked visibly shaken as they left the terminal wrapped in red blankets. Others ducked under umbrellas to escape the heavy downpour.

Passenger Robert Mais told The Gleaner newspaper of Jamaica that he could hear the engine's reverse throttle but that the plane didn't seem to slow as it skittered down the runway. He said he felt rain coming through the roof of the darkened jet after the impact and that baggage from the overhead compartments was scattered throughout the cabin.

Heavy turbulence on the way to Jamaica had forced the crew to halt the beverage service three times before giving up, Pilar Abaurrea of Keene, New Hampshire, said by phone. The pilot warned of more turbulence just before landing but said it likely wouldn't be much worse, she said.

"All of a sudden, when it hit the ground, the plane was kind of bouncing. Someone said the plane was skidding and there was panic," she said.

Some 400 passengers waited for their flights to be cleared for takeoff after the accident, Security Minister Dwight Nelson told Radio Jamaica.

Heavy rains that have pelted Jamaica's eastern region for four days are expected to dissipate by today. Authorities said the rain washed away a 7-year-old girl on Tuesday and led to a bus accident in which two people died.


1. What was the flight number?

2. How many people taken to hospital

3. How many passengers were on board?


1. Flight 331.

2. 44.

3. 148.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Plane misses Jamaica runway; 44 hurt

About the broadcaster:

Plane misses Jamaica runway; 44 hurt

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.