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Miami Air Offers Passengers $2,500 Each Following Jacksonville Accident

A Miami Air International jet slid off the runway at NAS Jax into the St. Johns River Friday night.
A Miami Air International jet slid off the runway at NAS Jax into the St. Johns River Friday night.

As officials work to find the cause of a Miami Air International Boeing 737-800 accident that resulted in the plane's skidding off a runway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville into the St. Johns River, the airline is reaching out to passengers with a "goodwill gesture." 

Miami Air President & CEO Kurt Kamrad wrote in a letter Monday that the airline was giving each passenger $2,500.

He said acceptance of the money would not affect “your rights,” implying passengers would not be giving up the option to file lawsuits in connection with the accident. 

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Boeing 737 Plane With 143 On Board Skids Into St. Johns River In Jacksonville

All 143 people aboard the airline survived, although three pets in the plane’s cargo hold perished, according to WJCT News partner News4Jax. A fourth pet, a dog that was in the passenger cabin, was safely removed by its owner.

“Please allow this letter to convey our sincerest regret that you were involved in the unfortunate incident aboard Flight 293,” Kamrad wrote.

Kamrad said as of Monday afternoon, passenger bags were still in the plane’s cargo hold. The airline expects to retrieve the luggage once cleared by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“To the best that we can, we will then clean and catalog the baggage. Once all the baggage is catalogued, a representative will contact you regarding identifying and returning your specific bag(s),” Kamrad wrote.

During a weekend news conference, NAS Jax base commander Capt. Michael P. Connor said, “I think it is a miracle,” in reference to avoiding any loss of human life.

The jet, which went off the runway at 9:40 p.m. Friday, ended up in "shallow water," the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said on Twitter.

The NTSB's investigation into why the Miami Air jetliner slid into the St. Johns River could take up to 18 months to complete, News4Jax reported.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

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