Plane with 143 people on board skids off runway and crashes into Florida river

Plane with 143 people on board skids off runway and crashes into Florida river

A Boeing 737 aeroplane slid off a runway and into the St Johns River at the end of a runway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, officials said.

An aviation source told NBC News that the plane was arriving from Cuba at around 9.40pm when it hit rough weather and slid off the runway, but it is believed that all lives have been accounted for, WLTV reports.

The BBC has since said that none of the passengers were seriously injured in the incident.

The chartered aircraft had reportedly traveled from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to the military base in Jacksonville. Passengers reported the plane landing heavily in stormy conditions before sliding into the river. At least 20 people have been treated for minor injuries.

Credit: Jax Sheriff's Office

Cheryl Bormann, a passenger on the plane, told CNN;

"The plane ... literally hit the ground and then it bounced. It was clear that the pilot did not have complete control of the plane because it bounced some more, it swerved and tilted left and right.

"The pilot was trying to control it but couldn't, and then all of a sudden it smashed into something."

She said that everyone on board the aircraft helped each other with their life vests before climbing out onto the wing and into the water, before boarding a raft that took them safely back to land.

Tom Francis of the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said last night that 21 adults had been transported to hospitals, but that all were in good condition.