All 143 passengers and crew have escaped after a Boeing 737 plane skidded off a runway and landed in a river during a “terrifying” attempted landing at an airport in Jacksonville, Florida.

The military-chartered Miami Air international plane was trying to land in a thunderstorm at the naval air station in Jacksonville en route from Guántanamo Bay in Cuba at around 9.40pm local time when it slid off the runway into the St Johns river, a statement from the navy airport said.

Officials said the 136 passengers and seven crew were alive and accounted for after the plane ditched in shallow water.

Twenty-one adults were transported to local hospitals for minor injuries but were in good condition.

Officials did not immediately say what caused the plane to leave the runway. On Saturday the National Transportation Safety Board said 16 investigators were arriving to determine the cause.

A Boeing spokesman said Friday that the company was aware of the incident and was gathering information.

The mayor of Jacksonville said on Twitter that everyone on board the flight was “alive and accounted for” but that crews were working to control jet fuel on the water.

“The plane was not submerged. Every person is alive and accounted for,” the Jacksonville sheriff’s office said on Twitter.

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