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American Airlines crash in Jamaica: no serious injuries

An American Airlines flight 331 from Miami with more than 150 aboard overshot a runway in Jamiaca. Some 44 people were taken to nearby hospitals but American Airlines said only two were admitted to the hospital, and nobody suffered life-threatening injuries.

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The Boeing 737-800, which originated at Reagan National Airport in Washington, had taken off from Miami International Airport at 8:52 p.m. and arrived in Kingston at 10:22 p.m. It was carrying 148 passengers and a crew of six, American said. The majority of those aboard were Jamaicans coming home for Christmas, Vaz said.

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“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,” Passenger Pilar Abaurrea of Keene, New Hampshire, said in a telephone interview.

As the crew opened the emergency exits and people scrambled to get off, Abaurrea, and her husband, Gary Wehrwein, noticed a number of people with injuries, including one person who had a cut on his head from falling baggage.

Abaurrea said the flight was very turbulent, with the crew being forced to halt the beverage service three times before finally giving it up. Just before landing, the pilot warned of more turbulence but said it likely wouldn’t be much worse than what they had experienced so far, she said.

Smith said there are two “significant cracks” in the fuselage but it is intact, and both engines came off the plane. He said the engines are designed to separate from the wings during an accident as a safety measure.

The airport reopened early Wednesday after officials had delayed flights because of concerns that the plane’s tail might be hindering visibility.
Some 400 passengers waited for their flights to be cleared for takeoff, Security Minister Dwight Nelson told Radio Jamaica.

Heavy rains that have pelted Jamaica’s eastern region for four days are expected to dissipate by Thursday. Authorities said the rains washed away a 7-year-old girl on Tuesday and led to a bus accident in which two people died.
Associated Press writers Danica Coto and Ben Fox and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Howard Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica, Carol Druga in Atlanta and Sofia Mannos in Washington contributed to this report.