A holiday jet crashed on landing in Jamaica today, stopping just short of plunging into the sea.
More than 40 people were injured when the American Airlines flight carrying 154 people skidded across the runway in heavy rain.
Panicked passengers screamed and baggage burst from overhead bins as Flight 331 from Miami careened down the runway in the capital, Kingston.
The impact cracked the fuselage, crushed the left landing gear and separated both engines from the Boeing 737.
Crews evacuated dazed and bleeding passengers on to the beach from a cabin that smelled of smoke and jet fuel, passengers said, as rain poured through the plane’s broken roof.
Some 44 people were taken to hospital with fractures and pain and four were seriously hurt.
Heavy turbulence on the way to Jamaica had forced the crew to halt cabin service three times before giving up, one passenger Pilar Abaurrea said.
She added that the pilot warned of more turbulence just before landing but said it would not be much worse.
“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,” she said.
US government crash investigators were heading to the island tonight, among their tasks will be to analyse whether the plane should have been landing in such bad weather.
Passenger Natalie Morales Hendricks told NBC’s 'Today' that the plane began to skid on landing and “before I knew it, everything was black and we were crashing”.
“Everybody’s overhead baggage started to fall. Literally, it was like being in a car accident. People were screaming, I was screaming,” she said.
“There was smoke and debris everywhere,” after the plane halted, she said. “It was a mess. Everybody could smell jet fuel.”
The plane came to a halt about 10 from the Caribbean and passengers walked along the beach to be picked up by a bus.
The plane took off from Miami International Airport at 8.52pm and arrived in Kingston at 10:22pm.