Plane slides off runway into river

All 143 people on board survived when the Boeing 737 charter plane slid off the runway into the St. John's River in Jacksonville, Florida.
3:51 | 05/04/19

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Transcript for Plane slides off runway into river
breaking news out of Jacksonville, Florida. Take a look at this. A Boeing 737 skidding off the end of a runway and into a river. It was a charter plane carrying 143 people and traveling from Cuba to north Florida. There were no critical injuries or deaths reported. One official calling that a miracle. And so the question this morning, how did this happen? Our aviation analyst is standing by, but let's start here with ABC's erielle reshef who has all the breaking details. Erielle, good morning. Reporter: Good morning to you guys. So many questions this morning. Officials say this was a disaster averted. Now the NTSB is investigating what caused that plane to slide off the runway into the water. Frightening moments on board this Boeing 737 after officials say it slid off the runway right into this Jacksonville river. Several people injured but amazingly all survived. It is a miracle. I could have ended very -- we could be talking about a different story this evening. Reporter: Rescuers racing to the scene. 143 passengers and crew members on the department of defense charter forced to evacuate onto the wing where they boarded rafts ferrying them to shore. We climbed onto the wing. We couldn't tell where we were. Whether it was a river or an ocean. Reporter: More than 80 fire and rescue crews responding including a hazmat team working to control and jet fuel leaking into the water. The flight was a regularly scheduled charter en route from Navy station Guantanamo Bay to Jacksonville. We're seeing some weather over Navy Jacksonville. How does ten degrees look left for me? Reporter: Fire officials saying the plane hit a rough patch of weather just before touching down. Obviously the best case scenario would be the aircraft was on the runway but given the circumstances, it absolutely is the best case. Reporter: This morning the NTSB launching a full team Jacksonville to investigate. Boeing releasing a statement saying the company extends its well wishes to all those involved and is providing technical assistance. 21 passengers were taken to the hospital, but there were no broken bones or life-threatening injuries. President trump tweeting overnight the white house is monitoring developments here. Incredible nobody got hurt. It really is a miracle. Thank you, erielle. Let's bring in retired marine couple and ABC news contributor Steve ganyard who served in the Pentagon and as a fighter pilot. Good morning to you. Good morning, Eva. As we just heard, there was severe weather at the time of what sort of challenges would that have created for the crew? Well, not just severe weather, there were thunderstorms, and sometimes thunderstorms can create microbursts that actually increase the touchdown speed of the airplane. There was probably standing water on the runway, so an airplane can hydroplane just like you may feel your car sometimes when you're going down the highway but in this case they'll also look at was there aircrew error? Did the pilots properly calculate their touchdown speed and did they plan properly, or was there a mechanical problem maybe with the brakes or thrust reversers but if you look at pictures there, you can see how lucky knot only the crew but passengers were. The St. John river is very shallow right at the end of the river at Navy Jacksonville and if there had been a building or a drop-off there, this could have, as this captain said there, could have been a very different story. Now, this plane was a Boeing 737. The aerospace company has been in the headlines a lot recently for issues with other planes. Should people be concerned about this? Is this more bad news for Boeing? No, this is the 800 model. This is the current generation of very, very reliable airplanes. You see them everywhere. It's the biggest selling airplane in the world. This is not the new generation max. It's a very different airplane, so nothing to think that there is a design problem here. I think they'll probably look at whether there was a mechanical problem, whether there was aircrew error and what role weather played in this mishap. All right, thank you, Steve ganyard joining us in Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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