JIS News

Members of the Emergency Response Unit at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston are being praised for their response to Wednesday (Dec. 22) night’s landing mishap involving an American Airlines flight from Miami, USA.
The aircraft, flight AA 331, carrying 145 passengers and six crew members, presumably overshot the NMIA runway on its final approach at approximately 10:25 p.m., resulting in a number of individuals sustaining injuries. They were taken to several hospitals across the Corporate Area for treatment.
Speaking with JIS News, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications, and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said he was “pleased with what I saw when I got there (accident site)” noting that lessons could be taken away from the incident.
“Obviously (with) anything like this, you can always come out of it with lessons and improvements, based on the fact that this is a practical situation rather than a theory, which is what is used in terms of precautionary measures,” he explained.
Vice President for Commercial Development and Marketing, NMIA, Mark Williams, told JIS News that the emergency team “responded in approximately three minutes (in getting) to the site.”
“Three fire units and one ambulance responded immediately. The ambulance took persons, who had obvious injuries to the hospital,” Mr. Williams said, pointing out the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), also lent their support by providing ambulances to transport the injured to their facilities.
The NMIA Vice President pointed out, however, that while pleased with the initial response, “we realise that we have some more work to do to get our emergency response perfect. We are not there yet. We had some issues…we want to work on that…, but the airport units responded appropriately.”
Meanwhile, up to Wednesday morning, only 13 of the 91 persons receiving treatment for injuries, including broken limbs, cuts and bruises, remained in hospital. According to Mr. Williams, the 13 included the six plane crew members, who were being held for observation. Mr. Vaz advised that one of the passengers had undergone surgery for a broken nose.
Meanwhile, Mr. Vaz is optimistic that Jamaica’s reputation will suffer no damage as a result of the mishap.
“This is something that happens… in the airline industry from time to time…it’s just fortunate that there were no fatalities. This is the first for Jamaica, in terms of an incident… but it definitely is not isolated,” Mr. Vaz pointed out.

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