A Boeing 737 jetliner (Aires Flight 8520) carrying 131 people crashed in a thunderstorm and broke into three pieces as it slid onto the runway on the Colombian island of San Andres Island today. The region’s governor said it was a miracle that only one person died. Colombian Air Force Col. David Barrero said officials were investigating reports the plane had been hit by lightning before crashing at 1:49 a.m. (3:49 a.m. EDT; 0649 GMT) on the island, which located about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of the Nicaraguan coast. The plane had left Bogota about midnight.
Passengers said the pilot had announced an impending landing and all seemed normal as the plane descended through rain and lightning, but suddenly it hit short and then slid onto the runway on its belly as the fuselage fractured. It wound up on one end of the runway, crumpled and in pieces, as passengers scrambled or were helped to safety. Passengers were taken to the Amor de Patria Hospital and other clinics on San Andres.
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