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A Boeing 737 Chartered Plane Skids Off the Runway in Jacksonville, Florida; Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) was Interviewed About the Boeing 737 that Skidded off a Runway in Florida; One Passenger Describes Crash Landing Experience. Aired 11p-12:13a ET

Aired May 3, 2019 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We have Mary Schiavo with us. Mary, continue on.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, you can see a lot of rescue crews there. I mean, the good news is that was a Naval Air Station, and obviously a Naval Air Station crews filled in experience in water operations and water rescue.

So that was also lucky (Inaudible) But again, the mystery is still why a commercial aircraft is at the Naval Air Station.


SCHIAVO: A question that has to be answered with the investigation.

LEMON: OK. Mary, I want you to stand by. This is the top of the hour. Here's our breaking news.


LEMON: There's been a 737 that slid off the runway into the St. Johns River about 9.40 Eastern Time. And a naval public affairs specialist at a Naval Air Station in Jacksonville is telling us that you're looking at a picture now of that Boeing 737.

And again, this happened about 9.40. We're told there are about 136 people on board this place. All have been accounted for. Not exactly sure if they had been, if are off the airplane. But again, there you see this plane slides off a runway Jacksonville, Florida and there's the response from the sheriff tonight.

Sources are confirming to one of our affiliates and to CNN there 136 people on board there. No reports of any deaths right now. Not sure about injuries. A 737 airplane.

We have our aviation expert Maria Schiavo joins us now by phone. Mary, as you can see and you pointed out earlier there's a -- appears to be Miami written on the side of this plane as we look at this picture of this plane submerge in water.

SCHIAVO: Yes. That would suggest to me that it's a charter, you know, that is still obviously a commercial plane, a commercial flight. But that would suggest a charter operation. LEMON: Miami Air International, Mary.

SCHIAVO: Yes. It's not usually scheduled. But, you know, they -- there's any possibilities as to how the plane would be operating. But at the Naval Air Station they could have also been making an emergency landing and -- but I would suspect it's a charter operation. A charter operation could be anything from tour profs cruise operators, sports teams.

But I think this airline, Miami Air is a charter operation.

LEMON: Yes. So, we're looking at the picture -- those are live pictures that we're looking at now. And if you look at what the sheriff tweeted out, there's that one picture that we had been showing and there's a second picture that comes after that. you can see the other side of the place.

And it does appear just from looking at this that those slides may have been deployed. I'm looking at it on my phone here. But anyways, yes, but even in that shallow water, they would, they have to make a call I'm sure about walking or putting people on boats? What would be the protocol just to make sure that folks are safe?

SCHIAVO: Well, and they're trained for that. The flight attendants are trained for that. The crews are trained for that. It doesn't happen very often. But that's why they have equipment for water landings. In particular, it make a difference which doors stay open.

Everyone will remember the miracle on the Hudson. There's a captain that was a pilot Sullenberger. And it was important as to which doors would be open and which are not. Now it doesn't appear to be deep enough here to make a difference.

But, you know, the pilots were trained, the crews are trained to handle those situations. And while I don't think see actual raft -- there probably is given a silver water (Ph) operations, that's probably is a raft on board. All of the slides can be used for that. But I don't see them there.

So, it appears as though the rescue vehicles were getting them rather quickly and since it was landing at the Naval Air Station, one might surmise that it was conducting a charter for the Department of Defense, for example. That would be something that might come to mind in my thoughts that it could be defense strategy that would be likely to be landing at Naval Air Station.

LEMON: So yes, it is -- it's likely that it is a charter flight as you said. And then there's a boat that is visible next to the plane. So, it seems like there was a quick response to this.

And listen, because I'm not sure what happened with the landing gear and what have you. You know, there's a lot of room between the fuselage and the ground usually. You know, in an airplane you have to walk of ramp. So, the water is shallow. But that depends on, you know, how tall you are and --


LEMON: Right. If you think about it.

[23:04:57] SCHIAVO: Well, the most important thing when you're doing a water landing is that the plane obviously doesn't sink. I mean they can sink very, very quickly. Especially small planes. They go on a hurry.

But the important thing is wherever it was lodged, and located the plane itself did not sink -- or wasn't in water deep enough to sink. And that's when you really have problems because even in small planes it's very difficult to get off in a hurry when they are going down.

The miracle on the Hudson flight, that tug boats and other boats got to the plane very quickly. They put ropes on it and tied it and literally helped keep it from sinking. So that's also another danger that you have on any water landing.


SCHIAVO: You may have the life vest on the plane. But it doesn't appear that this plane was in water deep enough to sink.


SCHIAVO: So, it does obviously have no zone damage so it something.

LEMON: Right. So, it appears to have skid off the runway, Mary, at the airport, trying to land and then ended up in the water. And you said this happens rarely. But, you know, it does happen.

SCHIAVO: Right. It happens. The classic scenario they call coming in high and hot for landing. You've got too much airspace speed and you land too far down the runway to stop. The other situations in which it happens is heavy rain and you don't get traction on the runway. You feel it will actually do a scrubbing action and just kind of roll on down the runway.

And the third of course is (Inaudible) which don't have in Jacksonville. There does appear to be water on the pavement, et cetera. So, it might have been a situation with a slick runway. But you usually you've got an air speed and too far down the runway to get stopped sometimes. That's the classic scenario for a runway overrun.

LEMON: I remember something very -- listen. We were talk -- and we talk, you know, about the miracle on the Hudson -- and there's a close up. As you see the fire and rescue boat there. Close to that plane.


LEMON: But you know, we were talking about the miracle on the Hudson but that was during the day. Can you imagine, you know, this at night when the visibility isn't as good. And mind you this water is not as deep as the Hudson. At least the water that this plane skidded into not as deep as the Hudson. SCHIAVO: And it's important also that it's warm. There have been some

acts like this which also led to the development of the RESA (Ph) beds on the runway. For example, in New York it had several where they that had gone off the runway and especially in the winter in the icy cold water, people you know, could die of hypothermia.

Nut now on major airports who have this RESA (Ph) bed at the end of the runway which are best thought of this kind of hollow boxes, and when the plane goes on them the wheels crunch down in. These collapsible, if you will, t layman's description, these collapsible cement boxes and it keeps the plane from going off the end of the runway into the water.

But not all airports have them. And mostly they're paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration at their large commercial airports. So, I'm not surprised that there isn't one here at the Naval Air Station. But that has also worked to stop a lot of runway overruns. And it saved a lot of lives in the development of those RESA (Ph) bed.

LEMON: Just above 70 degrees there where that happened and it is good that it is warm as well.

I want you to stand by, Mary Schiavo. I want to bring in Peter Goelz on the phone. He is the former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board better known as the NTSB. Peter, tell us what's your assessment of this breaking news? This plane skidding off the runway into this water?

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I think Mary is right. That there's initially good news the water is shallow, the plane is intact and there was no fire.

I mean, my guess is this was a military charter, you know, probably, Miami Air International is part of the air the reserve fleet that the military can call on for these, you know, essentially charter flights. Flying from an air station in Cuba to the air station in Jacksonville.

My guess is this will be an investigation that will be conducted by the military. And so far, it does not appear as though, you know, that there are any missing. The people are accounted for.

But you know, these kinds of flights take place on a regular basis. There are -- it wouldn't surprise me if this is in a weekly or twice weekly flight to Guantanamo and the military requires these kinds of mobility throughout the country and throughout the globe.

[23:10:06] LEMON: We have not got conformation that it is a government flight. But more than likely this Miami Air International is a charter service. And if it was coming from Guantanamo that --


GOELZ: Yes. It's part of air mobility fleet.

LEMON: Local reporters are reporting what you are but CNN has not confirmed that. But local reporters are there. GOELZ: Yes.

LEMON: They know, they know, they're on it. So, one would assume that they have the right information.

Listen, we get these reports of planes sliding off the runway. It doesn't happen a lot that they go into water. I remember one either in, I think it was in '90s at La Guardia skidded off the runway and ended up in the water there and there were people that had to be pulled out of the water. I'm not sure if you remember that?


LEMON: But it can be very dangerous. And of course, we had the miracle on the Hudson just a few years ago as well.

GOELZ: Yes. I mean, --

LEMON: Which was not a runway skid but had to and in water. Go on.

GOELZ: If you're flying and landing in weather, it's not all that unusual for a plane to hydroplane for an aircraft to hydroplane and skid off the end of a runway. And as Mary said if it came in -- if it came in hot and short on the -- hot and long on the runway it would be prescription for this kind of accident.

LEMON: Do you -- how much do you know and I don't want to put you on the spot here. Peter. How much do you know about the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville?

GOELZ: Very little.

LEMON: I'm just wondering if you're looking at a Naval Air Station, there's one of our affiliate reporters there from WJXT as well, and mayor on the scene and on the case right there.

But listen, I've got to ask you. If it is indeed a Naval Air Station, then one would assume that the runways are just as long if not longer than commercial airport.

GOELZ: Yes, generally in the -- at the air station at the naval bases, you're talking about a 10,000-foot runway in most cases. Minimum.

LEMON: Minimum, right? So, what happens now, Peter. After this everyone off the plane. That is their goal. So, what happens next with National Transportation and Safety Board? I'm sure they will come in and there are investigators and rescue workers are already on the scene. But is the next job for the National Transportation Safety Board to figure out what's going on?

GOELZ: Well, they'll be, they will have to make an initial decision on whether this is an NTSB investigation or a naval investigation or both. My guess is it will be both and the NTSB will have a team on scene sometime early tomorrow morning. LEMON: So here is the information that we had, if you're just joining

us. There is a Boeing 737 jet that skidded off the runway in Jacksonville, Florida. You're looking at live picture in the left of your screen. And also, to the right of your screen you're seeing that plane submerged in water and some of the rescue apparatus that they brought out to get all those 136 people off the plane.

All have been accounted for. there are no deaths in this. Not sure about injuries right now.

But here is the latest information we have is that this was indeed -- and I don't have that in my box, guys, if you have it. This was indeed a flight from Guantanamo Bay. It was a charter flight from Guantanamo Bay and the information is approximately 9.40 p.m. tonight Eastern Time this happened.

This plane was arriving at the Naval Air Station from Guantanamo Bay Cuba into this Naval Air Station at Jacksonville. Crashed into the St. Johns River at the end of the runway. Navy security and emergency response personnel on the scene and they are monitoring the situation.

But again, there you go. You're looking at the very latest pictures. And now you're seeing a -- this is where this Naval Air Station is in comparison to the St. Johns River there. So, it is very close and we don't know the details exactly what happened. How this ended up in the water. What mishap there was. If it was skidding or what happened.

But again, approximately 9.40 p.m. today or tonight, I should say, a Boeing 737 arriving from the naval station Guantanamo Bay Cuba into Naval Air Station Jacksonville crashed into the St. Johns River at the end of the runway. The navy security and emergency response personnel on the scene monitoring the situation.

I want to go in. Stand by, Peter. I want to go now to David Soucie. David is on the phone. He is a former FAA inspector and he often joins us when we need to talk about anything that has to deal with airplanes. And the book is what, "Why Planes Crash?" Is that correct?


LEMON: Yes. So, tell me what is your assessment to this. As we look at these pictures of this plane submerged in water.

[23:14:59] SOUCIE: Well, this is the private jet charter, Don. And so that's different in the commercial. We were talking -- I heard you talking earlier about whether the NTSB or the navy would be investigating this accident. And if it's a commercial air charter with out of Miami which looks like it is, it's definitely the NTSB will have crews out there in the morning.

I'm just really thankful that everybody got out of the airplane well. Even it slid or not completely you submerged you can have fatalities and injuries.

LEMON: Yes. SOUCIE: And the fact that they were brought out of the aircraft safely and no one was hurt is just really, it says a lot about how the crew reacted to the situation.

LEMON: I got to tell you now. They said that they can't call it a commercial flight anymore. That this was indeed a charter -- you know, the early information that comes in sometimes because it's a, you know, it's a breaking news, right, it's not often -- sometimes, I should say often, sometimes it's not accurate because they're trying to cobble together information very quickly there.

The initial -- the initial reports from the mayor was that there was a commercial plane down in the river.

Listen, it is a charter flight that is down. And we can stay is Miami Air International is the name of this charter flight coming from Guantanamo Bay Cuba into the airport at Jackson into this naval station in Jacksonville, Florida. Now down in the St. Johns River.

We have David Soucie on the phone who is a former FAA inspector. Is that correct, David?

SOUCIE: That's correct. I was safety inspector and a maintenance inspector and then I did a lot of aircraft accident investigations from the FAA perspective, rather than the NTSB perspective, which is more about the regulatory side of the accident.

LEMON: David, let me ask you. Because they are saying it's a shallow water. Are you able to see the images up on your screen? Because we are seeing boats there. It's shallow water deep enough for at least some, you know, water craft to get out there.

But if you're looking at this, one would imagine that the landing gear is still down. So, there it would be some clearance between the plane and that water. I'm not sure, you know, how deep this water is. Shallow in some instances but it depends. If you compare the folks to the people that you see you know, to the size of the plane in the water, it's shallow but it doesn't look that shallow.

SOUCIE: No, it doesn't. But it's definitely touching the bottom. You can see how the aircraft is not moving or swaying at all. So that makes the evacuation a lot easier than trying to fight with waves or wind or anything like that trying to move things around. So, for that -- for that thing you can be thankful the fact that it is in shallow enough waters to make it stable exit out of the aircraft.

LEMON: So, a plane has gone down. The good news is that all 136 people on board this charter flight from Guantanamo Bay, all 136 people are accounted for. And either they have gotten them all off the plane or in the process of removing them.

You saw the boats there and the rescue personnel in the picture. But can you imagine being on this plane and then seeing what happened and then looking out your window and you're in water. You're submerged in water, David. SOUCIE: Yes. Especially after you -- I believe if I got this right,

it was landing on the runway and then came out at the end of the runway into the water. That's the latest we heard.

LEMON: Yes. I know you see --


SOUCIE: So that would be --

LEMON: Go on.

SOUCIE: So, to be sitting there and thinking you're landing fine and then something happens. The only other time I've investigated an accident like this was when the (Inaudible) didn't deploy on the jets and then the aircraft continue to fly or continue to not settle and especially what they do is they reverse the flow of the engine to push the aircraft back.

And so, one other accident investigation like this that have gone off into the river out in California. And when that happens, the aircraft went into the water but it was a smaller aircraft. So, I can't imagine why this would go up. It's a clear day. It's not -- you don't have any kind of weather or anything like that that would cause the aircraft to go up at the end of the runway other than some kind of failure that wouldn't have allowed it to stop in time.

LEMON: I want you to stand by. All of our experts, Peter, Mary, and David as well. I just want to tell you. I'm Don lemon here in New York. And we are live on the air.

Approximately 9.40 p.m., a plane came in from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Boeing 737 carrying 136 people skidded off the runway into the St. Johns River. All 136 people are accounted for.

but we're waiting to get word on the possibility of injuries or what exactly went on. We're continue with our breaking news coverage. We'll take a quick break. Don't go anywhere.


LEMON: We're back now live with our breaking news.

if you look at your screen there is that Boeing 737 that skidded off the runway in Jacksonville. Landed in the St. Johns River. It was coming in from Guantanamo Bay. CNN has gotten confirmation of that, Guantanamo Bay Cuba into the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville. They're saying it skidded off the runway into shallow water. All 136 passengers on board accounted for, we are told.

We have our experts waiting to speak with you and we're going to get information from them now. One of them is CNN military analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton and he joins us now via phone. Colonel, thank you so much. You're looking at the pictures. We are. This is all unfolding in Realtime. So, talk to us about -- who if this -- again, confirmation that this coming from Guantanamo Bay. Who's on this plane? Colonel, are you there? Colonel Leighton? OK. So we don't have him. We

don't have him. he's not on the phone. OK. Stand by. We'll get Colonel Leighton on the phone now.

Josh Campbell joins us now. He is CNN law enforcement. So, listen, let's talk about what happened here. Who might be on this plane coming from Guantanamo Bay? What's going on here, Josh?

[23:30:05] JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, Don, we're seeing a lot of the pictures here from emergency vehicles that have responded, you have a number of fire department assets, emergency vehicles. I think we can't overstate the amount of training that goes into preparation for these very types of incident.

When you have an air field. When you have aircraft coming and going you have behind the scenes these emergency personnel begin that are trained and equipped to respond. There are three primary areas that they're looking for. The first of which is being your typical medical emergency.

So those of us who fly and we typically see, you know, fire department, ambulances moving around the runway perhaps the terminal, responding to hard conditions, breathing issues, things like that. So, they prepare for that.

Another issue that they prepare for airplanes that are in distress. So, if there's a known call that there's an aircraft inbound or some kind of issue there may be an emergency landing. You'll have fire department apparatus respond to the runway, again preparing for that worst-case scenario.

And then lastly, you have, you know, preparing for incidents on takeoff and landings. You know, emergency personnel they have live visibility of flight schedules. They know airplanes that are coming and going. They can respond if there's any type of issue.

Now one of the most dangerous points in supply is when an airborne vehicle becomes a ground born vehicle that's landing. So here it appears that that is where the incident took place, whenever a plane is landing. It appears they over shot the runway and then ended up there in the water.

And again, with these access that are on the ground you have them responding very quickly. One thing to keep in mind is that, you know, these departments prepare for this because unlike your typical medical emergency, something involving an air crash could very easily have dozens or hundreds of injuries immediately with one incident.

You have the Naval Air Station assets going to respond and then that word goes out to departments across the area to send resources again because the preparation will be in place. But if you haven't (Inaudible) quickly to the hospital. These are the issues the access that we're seeing on our screen right now responding from the fire department.

LEMON: Yes. You see that. I mean, it appears to be some pretty big efforts on the way and pretty big folks there. One would imagine by now speaking of the rescue efforts here, Josh, that they have. If they say 136 people are accounted for. That probably means that they are off this plane and they are safe.

CAMPBELL: Yes, that's right. I think this thing we're seeing here are bit dated where again you have Jacksonville fire that responded there. They have their ladder trucks goes out. And again, they're always aware of their domain, their area.

If they're near a body of water, then that will be, you know, that will be staggered into their preparation for any type of response. Every air field undergoes that same type of assessment. Again, what are the possible factors that could take place in their area of responsibilities?

And if there is some type of issue where an aircraft would go, you know, pass the runway into water, then obviously that's something. That they'll factor in. You see that a lot of rucks we saw there earlier that's on the screen. They're responding in order to get people off.

And again, they'll check the manifest. They'll run through and make sure that they've accounted for every single person. And it's very interesting that they've come up now to say that everyone is accounted, no injuries, no deaths, which again that's good information for us to have now and that's something that they're trying to run through.

That's not to say they won't do precautionary check. I imagine that they will probably be transporting some people as a precaution. Again, when you have this type of impact given it's an aircraft that over (Inaudible) a runway they may have some cautionary movement to the hospital. But again, good news coming in at least initially that we don't see, you know, obviously a massive loss of life here.

LEMON: All right. Josh, I want you to stand by because I want to bring in on this breaking news now, CNN military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. He joins us via phone as well with our breaking news. Just let me update the viewers and then I'll bring you in, general.

So, listen, a 737 skidded off the runway about 9.40 Eastern Time. It is at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, skidded into the St. Johns River. One hundred thirty-six people accounted for. All of them who were on the plane.

I'm joining now by General Hertling. So general, you have been to this Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, explain it to us, describe the station me.

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, it's a pretty active, Don, I've been there several times. It's right up the road from where I live. And in fact, I stayed a couple of weeks there at one point and saw some of their facilities. It's an active runway. It comes off right against the St. Johns River, Florida. And what I'll tell you is, this sounds like without any additional

information but just going on conjecture. Given the number of passengers that were on the plane and where it's coming from, this is a normal military deployment flight. And I heard your last guest talking about manifest.

Yes, what I'll tell you is having been on multiple deployment. The manifest lists are rigorous and just a plain they normally have a sergeant who is the flight lead and they have a list of people by serial number, by name, by rank. So, they know exactly who is on this flight and what they were doing.

[23:29:58] And it sounds to me like it was likely a unit.

It was either deploying or re-deploying out of Guantanamo Bay as part of either the guard unit or part of the staff judge advocates that are conducting legal actions with some of the prisoners that remain there or it could just be a marine outfit because there is a very large marine contingent on Guantanamo outside of the normal things that -- whenever you say Gitmo to the American public, they immediately think of the terrorist prisoners that are there. But there is also a very active marine unit on that island and this could be just a re- deployment of a unit that's been there for a while.

LEMON: Yeah. I know you just went through it, but if you could go through it again for our viewers since we have learned, General, that this is not a commercial flight --


LEMON: -- that this was a charter coming from Guantanamo Bay, so very specifically I know you're going to repeat some of the same things, but just plainly and distinctly, who might be on this plane? Who would be on this type of charter?

HERTLING: Well, first of all, the military uses charters a lot. And as I understand it, this was a Miami Air Charter, which is something that's used quite a bit in Florida, moving through standing around both not only Guantanamo but also being used as both the southern command going into places in South American from their headquarters outside of Miami but also from special operations command and central command is in Florida as well, near Tampa.

So, this is an airline that used quite frequently to move military forces. Most Americans think that when military forces move around the globe, they're always in Air Force jet like a C-17 or C-5. That, in fact, is not the case. Most of the time, we use civilian charter airplanes to save the wings on our military aircraft.

Jacksonville, a Naval air station, is a relatively large Naval air base. They have quite a bit of contingents there from the Navy and other forces at that base. They have a lot of air traffic in and out of there, outside the major Northern Florida city of Jacksonville.


HERTLING: That air base bumps up against the St. John's River and it appears that that's where this aircraft nosed in.


HERTLING: So, this will be some type of deployment of a force, either Marines or Army, onto the base at Guantanamo because there is a very large Marine contingent on that island.

LEMON: So, General, if you will stand by, we have to gather some information and get some things together here because on the other side of the break, we're going to join someone who is on that plane -- who was on that plane. He's going to join us to talk about it. Don't go anywhere.

Our breaking news, plane skids off the runway in Jacksonville Florida tonight. We're going to talk to someone who is on the plane right after this.


LEMON: We're back now with our breaking news. As you can see, this Boeing 737 plane submerged in water in Jacksonville, Florida, skidding off a runway as it was trying to land at the Naval air station in Jacksonville.

I want to bring in now Peter Goelz on the phone. He is a former managing director for the National Transportation Safety Board. As I understand, you have looked at these pictures. I want to describe some of them and then I want you to explain to me, Peter, if you will, what's going on.

The first in that we have up now, as you can see there, is an inflatable raft, but you see people walking on the wings and getting into this raft. As we said, the water is shallow, but that depends on how tall you are, right? If you compare it to this plane, it certainly doesn't appear to be that shallow, just shallow for a human being.

So, typically to get off on the wing, use that as a walkway on to a raft in these situations?

PETER GOETZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST (on the phone): Yes, certainly. That's a standard evacuation of a 737-800 if they -- if they did not deploy the -- from the rear or forward entry or use (ph) the over wing entrance or the preferred ones, you walk out on the wing getting to the inflated raft.

LEMON: OK. Let's cycle through these pictures now, then I'll get you to talk more about it. OK. So, this one that we're looking at now, Peter, you can see that the nose cone has either have been knocked off or it has been dented -- listen, my monitor is small, but it looks like the nose is gone. Is that from hitting the water? What can you surmise from --

GOETZ: Well, it could have been hitting anything going through, restraining front fences at the end of the runway --

LEMON: Right.

GOETZ: The nose cones are relatively fragile part of the aircraft, not essential.


GOETZ: I mean that's -- it's -- that would be expected.

LEMON: Yes. And so, we see a different -- there's different type of apparatus there. We see one boat that appears to be a solid structure that's a little bit taller here that looks like it goes out to the side of the windows in the plane and then you have also the inflatables as well. I would imagine they're using every bit of equipment that they have to try to get these people to safety. And by the way, all 136 people on board that plane are accounted for.

GOETZ: Yes. Each one of the exits, Don, have deployable inflatable shoots that can be used as a life raft in an emergency. And it looks in this photo that they did deploy the full chutes (ph).

LEMON: Yeah. And you can see the -- this one is from the fire and rescue. Peter, stand by, because I'm joined by someone who is -- she is a congresswoman from Florida seventh district, Stephanie Murphy. Thank you for joining us.

You're here to speak to us about another story that had to do with Florida and election hacking and preserving our system for upcoming election, but you just happen to be here. And I think it's important to get your perspective because you work for the defense department as a national security specialist, right, at one point?


[23:40:00] LEMON: So, as you look at -- thank you so much for joining us and speaking -- you're -- Orlando is your district and this is a couple of miles down the road, obviously, in Jacksonville. But speaking -- I mean, they got everyone off quickly. What can you say about the folks there in your state?

MURPHY: Well, I'm just really grateful to see the first responders were able to respond and keep everybody safe. Everybody is accounted for and the plane as well as ensuring that people were safe and secure. I think the civilian and military cooperation that probably is occurring right here is a great example of how we see this across our state. We are a state that has a lot of military assets in it, and I think that cooperation is reflected in the fact that they're probably accustomed to working together.

LEMON: Yeah. Absolutely. You can see that. Listen. It's dark there. And just the rescue effort, especially in water, obviously, not everyone can swim. We said that this shallow water. But if you look at the size of that plane and then the size of the depot, it's shallow maybe to the plane but not necessarily to the people on board that plane.

MURPHY: Yes. I can't imagine how terrifying this must be for the people that were on the plane. What a harrowing experience, but really grateful to the first responders. And I am sure that the Department of Defense and the military will conduct its investigation in conjunction with our civilian agencies to find out exactly what happened and make sure that air travel continues to be safe.

LEMON: Representative Stephanie Murphy, we thank you so much for joining us. She is from Florida. Again, she is with the Department of Defense, a former national security specialist. So, it's good to have her expertise and her input. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Listen. I just want to also new information on this breaking news story. This is from Boeing. It's from Boeing's verified accountant and say -- said, "We are aware of an incident in Jacksonville, Florida and are gathering information." As we know, this is a Boeing 737. They are gathering information, and everyone is working overtime not only to make sure the passengers are safe but to try to figure out what -- how this happened and what happens next.

Someone who was aboard this plane that slid off the runaway into the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida joins us after the break.


LEMON: So, here is our breaking news tonight, a Boeing 737 arriving from Guantanamo Bay slid off the runway tonight at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, crashing to the St. Johns River, 136 people on board that plane.

I want to bring in now military analyst, Colonel Cedric Leighton. He joins us via phone. Colonel, thank you so much. Let me give you the breaking news here, the new information that we're getting from the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, says the rotator experienced a crash landing at NAS Jacksonville earlier this evening. No reports of fatalities or serious injuries. More information will be made available here as it becomes known. Fleet and family service center is available for counseling. Stop by the center or call -- and then it gives you an extension.

But this is where the plane is from, posting that on their Facebook page, the rotator, it's called, experienced a crash landing. What does that mean?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST (on the phone): So, what that means, Don, is that the rotator is the military slang that is used to describe a plane that takes people from a deployed location back home or people from home -- from their home base to the deployed location.

So, this is a standard flight that has an irregular schedule. And this particular flight actually Norfolk, Virginia at 5:30 a.m. and landed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville at 7:20 a.m. this morning then it went from Jacksonville down to Guantanamo Bay and then came back on is flight. And just like the name implies, it was on its way back from Guantanamo to Jacksonville and then ultimately goes back to Norfolk, Virginia.

What it does is it's on a rotational schedule. It has certain air bases and naval air stations that it goes to on a set route for a said period of time. And that's usually where it's used, you know, for deployments and things like that and especially operations like Guantanamo Bay. They have rotators that service them and this is -- basically, this is a plane that is used for this effort.

LEMON: We have up there something that tracks the flight. I don't know if it's official flight tracker, but it shows the route of this plane coming in from Guantanamo Bay at 9:40 is when it happened. And as we were looking at pictures of the plane, Colonel Leighton, and I was speaking earlier with someone with someone and Peter Goelz who mentioned it could have been from end of the runway, the fence that secures the runway that could have come off from that. It could be the water. They're not exactly sure right now. But it shows you that there was at least an impact somewhere that was pretty strong.

LEIGHTON: Yes. Absolutely. And what that could mean is when Peter was talking about that, that is a definite possibility. They usually is (inaudible) at the end of a runway. And the case of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, I don't remember if they have a fence there or not, but most bases have a fence before you actually hit the water. And you know, it designed for safety as well as anti-intrusion type measures.

So, it stands to reason that the damage took the nose cone could very well have come about because of an impact like that against the fence or some other kind of barrier.

LEMON: Cedric Leighton -- Colonel Cedric Leighton, I appreciate it. Stand by. We're going to get back to the colonel and our other experts as well. If you're just tuning in, you can see there's a 737 -- a Boeing 737 plane, a charter plane, believed to have military personnel on board or does have military personnel on board. That has been confirmed now by the military. They call it the rotator, which Colonel Leighton just explained it -- just explains that it transports military folks from this naval air station to Guantanamo Bay.

I'm just getting information now from my producer that's why I paused there. And I've been -- we have been telling you that there has been -- for minutes now, for quite some time now that we would -- someone who was on the plane would be joining us and that is defense attorney, Cheryl Bormann. She was on board the plane.

And this is -- thank you so much for joining us. As I understand -- was that from her Facebook page or -- that's from the Naval Station Guantanamo Facebook page. Sorry about that. Thank you for joining us. What happened?

CHERYL BORMANN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY ON BOARD THE PLANE: That's a good question, Mr. Lemon. I actually don't know what happened. The plane was seriously late arriving in Guantanamo Bay. It's a charter company and the charter company is Miami Air and they're chartered by the military to do these types of flights every week or so.

[23:50:00] The flight was delayed. We didn't know why, but it was delayed about four hours. When it was arrived, the people who were just embarking explained to that the air conditioning in the plane had not worked. They didn't fix it. They flew it that way anyway. And they were pretty universally miserably.

So, none of us were looking forward to getting on to the plane. We got on it anyway. I live in Chicago, so I was hoping to catch a flight from Jacksonville to my home in Chicago, and that wasn't going to happen because, of course, the flight was four hours late.

So, we were preparing to land in Jacksonville. As we were flying through lightning and thunderstorm -- and I was in an aisle seat, so I didn't have a view of the outside. The gentleman next to me did. And as we went down, we had a really hard landing and then the plane bounced and screeched and bounced more and it lifted to the right and then it lifted to the left and then it sort of swerved and then it came to a complete like a crash stop. And my head flew forward and I hit my head on the plastic trey that is in the seat in front of you. I'm not injured, thankfully, just little bump on the head.

But at any rate, at that point, the flight attendants did a great job. They got everybody into life vests. I really do learn. I fly a lot for work and thankful that I remember the instructions. You put on your life vest, you don't inflate it until you get outside the plane. We climbed onto the wing. We were in water. We couldn't tell where we were, whether it was a river or an ocean. There was rain coming down. There was lightning and thunder. And we stood on that wing for a significant period of time.

The rescue folks came eventually. Somebody inflated a life raft that has been on the plane and we began climbing into it. Everybody was helping everybody. The passengers were terrific. I didn't see -- there were some injuries, but it didn't look like too many serious injuries. The children were the first ones on and everybody else helped everybody else.

Eventually, the fire rescue folks figured out that they could help us by getting a rope. It was actually a cable from a pier that was the closest thing to us and then pulling us in and with some help from people on the raft and then we held on the pier and helped other people on.

I spoke with some folks who were on the other wing and they told me there was a large hole in the other wing. And I didn't see that because I was on -- as you face the front of the airplane, I was on left side of the airplane. I was on that wing. I guess on the right side of the plane as your facing the front of the plane, there was a large hole in the wing.

So, NTSB hasn't spoken to us yet. We had some medical treatment. We're all sort of in a hanger at Naval Station Jacksonville and border control is processing us. I know they're only doing this to us, but they're asking us for IDs. Of course, most of us don't have any because we left it on the plane in our bag. So it's a bit of a mess.

LEMON: That was a very vivid explanation summary of a harrowing experience, Attorney Cheryl Bormann. And we appreciate you joining us. So, explain to us, again, exactly what happened. You said you were flying in bad weather. There was lightning and thunderstorms.


LEMON: And then you try to land and the plane bounced and screeched, you said, and listed right to left. So, explain to me what happened as you were landing and when did you know there was trouble?

BORMANN: Well, as soon as we landed, because when we landed, the plane shook and something feels off. I couldn't really tell what it is or what it was. I'm not an expert. I have no idea, but I fly pretty frequently and it didn't feel right. And then it bounced and then it listed right and listed left and it bounced some more and then it kind of turned and you could tell that the pilot had lost complete control of the plane. It was obvious that it was either sliding or bouncing. It's hard for a passenger sitting on an aisle seat to really have a sense because it's almost like you're in a sensory deprivation tank, right?

[23:55:05] There's nothing -- I can't see outside and I have no sense of what's happening. All I know is our bodies are kind of being tossed around. And you're wearing your (inaudible), which means that your hips are being secured to the seat --

LEMON: Right.

BORMANN: -- but the rest of you is flying around. So, the oxygen mask is deployed in some of the seats. The bins from the overhead -- the overhead bins that carry the -- where you store your carry ones, some of those flipped open. Things began filling out.

My bag, which contains my two laptops, my personal cell phone and all of my identification, cash, credit cards, my passports, everything flew backwards under somebody else's seat. So, even if I had wanted to retrieve it to bring it out onto the wing, I wouldn't have been able to like it just wasn't there.

So it was terrifying, but everybody was pretty calm. It was -- I have to say that I was very impressed with the professionalism of the flight staff, flight crew and also of the passengers. Everybody helped everybody else.

LEMON: I was going -- that was my next question, what was the reaction of people onboard the plane because if something happened like this I would -- one would imagine people would be screaming. But who knows? Maybe it was such a shock they were just so surprised that they couldn't.

BORMANN: People were -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt. People weren't screaming because the flight attendants handled it quickly. They knew almost immediately we had landed in water and they directed us to put on our life vests. I had a hard time getting mine out from underneath my seat but my passenger -- the passenger sitting next to me was kind enough to give me a hand and gave it a little tug and that worked.

We all assisted each other in putting on our life vests and tightening them and then we all see (ph) each other getting out onto the wing. Even out on the wing, you know, it was a little -- that was actually a bit scary, frightening, because you could smell jet fuel.

LEMON: Yeah.

BORMANN: And so, you knew that it was leaking into the water, and you know, in an electrical storm that's a little disconcerting to say the least, but nobody panicked, and we all sort of orderly -- in an orderly fashion got off the wing of the plane into the water onto the raft and over to safety.

LEMON: Well, what I was saying, too, is it's dark. You don't know how deep that water is, and you said you didn't know if you were in a river or an ocean or what have you. I have to ask you though, who was -- who else was on the plane, military, civilians? Tell us.

BORMANN: Well, I'm a civilian who does some defense work in the Guantanamo Commission. There were military personnel, mostly not in uniform. It's a pretty typical kind of -- they call it the rotator flight. So, it spoke to the family members of military, so small children. There were a couple of infants on the plane. There were grandmas and grandpas.

Sometimes people in the military will come down to Guantanamo Bay as a sort of inexpensive vacation. They call it traveling, they say, if your space (ph) on a flight, retired military. So, there are some older people. There were people who were stationed there that were coming into the states for medical care.

I met a lady who was having a -- some hardware removed from her knee where she had had some sort of knee surgery in the past and was having the metal removed. She was flying to the states for that, a variety of people. You know, all sort of connected to the military in someway or another, though.

LEMON: Cheryl Bormann was on the plane. She joins us now and she describing what happened when this plane, this Boeing 737, skidded off the runway. Cheryl, don't go anywhere. I'll bring you right back in.

I just want to update our viewers and tell them 21 people we are transported from the scene of this aircraft into the water -- 21 were transported from the scene of the aircraft into water and taken to various local hospitals in good condition and that according to Tom Francis (ph), the Jacksonville fire rescue public information. He is a public information officer, Thomas Francis there.

I want to bring Cheryl back in now. Cheryl, you said that there were elderly people on board, grandparents, members of the military, civilians and children. Were there lots of children on this plane?

[23:59:54] BORMANN: There -- you ask me to recollect now, and you know, I really -- you don't really pay attention when you board a plane. And typically, they board parents with small children first, onto these flights out of Guantanamo.


But in this instance they didn't, because of the lack of air conditioning when we boarded the flight. The malfunctioning air system had it so hot in the plane that they didn't want the kids to suffer needlessly, so they boarded the adults first and the kids last -- families with kids.

So I boarded earlier so I didn't -- I actually didn't see how many families with kids there were but I know I sat next to a lady with an infant when we were being bussed away after being pulled out of the water, so I met her. She was fine and her child was fine and right now I'm looking at a couple moms and kids, but I think they took most of the kids away already to be checked out medically. I can't really give you an estimate; I don't know the number. I would say more than six but beyond that, I couldn't really tell you.


BORMANN: One of the saddest things, actually, is there were pets in the luggage compartment and I know those pets weren't rescued.

LEMON: You said they were or weren't?

BORMANN: They were not rescued.

LEMON: So they are still in that compartment?


LEMON: Oh, boy.

BORMANN: Yes, and likely didn't make it. Devastating. There is a few folks here that had pets in crates that they had checked and as a dog owner myself, it absolutely devastating. Devastating.

LEMON: That is devastating considering I had the dogs this weekend because my partner had to go somewhere and they are sitting in my office now waiting. That is devastating to hear from a pet owner because they are family. They are family.

BORMANN: Exactly.

LEMON: That's awful. Listen, I got to ask you where are you now? You said that everyone was off the plane and they were trying to interview you and you said you didn't have -- you don't have identification because it's still on the plane. Where are you guys now?

BORMANN: We're in a hanger in a converted airplane hanger, high ceilings, windows. It is probably used for ceremonies of some sort because it's a podium with a large American flag hanging behind it and everyone is just sort of milling around. There are folding chairs and a series of flags, the United States flag and various military flags. And everyone is just sort of milling around because know one know what is to do. They won't let us leave yet and I asked two marines, talked to -- we were told that the NTSB will be here to speak with us.

Everybody, you know, is curious about their belongings and wants to know what will happen next as you might imagine, people's lives got a bit disrupted. I myself was supposed to - I booked a hotel room here because I knew

the flight would be so late I couldn't make my connection to Chicago and I'm going to have to cancel that. I don't have a credit card to check in even if I did. Fortunately, my dad lives about four hours from here so once they release us, I think I'm going to call him and ask him to come and get me. Happy 80th birthday, dad. You get to come and get me a few hours from where you live.

LEMON: Cheryl, can we go through some of this again. Stand by, Cheryl. Hold on. I want to update the viewer. Again, it a little after the top of the hour and you're looking at the pictures we have from Jacksonville, Florida. This Boeing 737 that skidded off the runway into the St. Johns River as it approached, as it was landing from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One hundred thirty-six people on board. All are accounted for now and in a safe spot. We understand that 21 people have been transported from the scene taken to various local hospitals in good condition. And we're also learning from Cheryl Bormann - attorney Cheryl Bormann who was on board the plane is joining us now, but there were pets in the compartment and they don't think they made it. We hope that the not the case but at this point, that is the bad news here.

So Cheryl, thank you for joining us. I just want to go through some of this. You said you were in Guantanamo Bay. This plane was four hours late you said. It was delayed.


LEMON: And once you were, the passengers who were getting off the plane told you guys, the folks that were getting ready to get on the plane that it was miserable, the air conditioning was not working and so you boarded anyway and you got on and from there tell us what happened.

BORMANN: So we got on and it was downright toasty in there.


So the flight is 2 hours and 20 minutes and I was sitting next to a very funny fellow who was complaining that this two and half hour flight was worse than his flight he's taken from all over the Middle East because there was no air on this plane. And we were kind of commiserating with one another and then we were flying through a storm, it got really bumpy and then as we were landing, we came down and the plane as it hit the ground, literally hit the ground and bounced and then it was clear that the pilot did not have complete control of the plane because it bounced some more. It swerved and went to the left and right and then as I said earlier, I couldn't really tell what was happening because I was in an aisle seat. All you can do is feel what was happening but feels like the plane was kind of veering sideways in a way and then the pilot was trying to control it and then all of a sudden, it just smashed into something. I don't -- I'm told that the entire nose of the plane is broken off. I don't know if that the true because I didn't see it.

LEMON: Yes, we've been looking at the pictures. Hold it right there, Cheryl. I just want to get to something and we'll bring you back in. If you can be patient, we appreciate you joining us. ItIt is very important that people who are watching learn what is going on, especially friends and family members and they know the folks on board are safe. We're going to get back to Cheryl in just a moment. I want you-all to listen in. This is Thomas Francis, Jacksonville fire rescue public information officer speaking a little while ago. Here it is.


THOMAS FRANCIS, JACKSONVILLE FIRE AND RESCUE OFFICER: When we arrived here at the scene, we found a need for triage in the aftermath of the triage of the individuals who were injured and evaluated here at the scene; we transported 21 here from this location to area hospitals.


LEMON: So I'm joined now but attorney Cheryl Bormann who is on the plane. Cheryl, stand by. I want to bring in Mary Schiavo. And you know, you heard Mary, you heard Cheryl, you heard her description. What do you think happened here?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Boy, her description was so good and almost text-book like two other crashes I worked. One was American Airlines in Kingston, Jamaica landed in bad weather. Didn't get traction on the runway; it just did not get any good contact with the runway and skidded off the end of the runway into the water and the other was American Airlines, another American one 1420 in Little Rock in 1999. Same thing. It came in and when it came in fast, came in bad weather. Both of these were rainstorms, did not get any traction on the runway.

It called a scrubbing action, the wheels literally leave almost white marks on the runway and went off the end into the water. It sounds like a combination of weather and perhaps because of the weather, didn't get the full length of the runway and didn't get the traction and also I would be interested to know if they could tell which runway, why these runways are 6,000 feet and one at 8,000 feet and in a rainstorm, 6,000 doesn't give you much leeway. You could run off the end of that in a hurry. So sounds like weather and lack of good traction and contact with the runway.

LEMON: Stand by. Mary, I want to bring in Cheryl. Cheryl, are you there?

BORMANN: I am but unfortunately I have to go because they are giving us a briefing now and I really, I need to understand what is happening. So...

LEMON: It is very understandable. Go on.

BORMANN: All the family and friends and everybody on the plane is comforted, everybody seems to be doing okay and we're going to make this out of -- we'll make it out of here helping each other out. So thank you very much and it was a pleasure speaking with you. LEMON: Cheryl, it's a pleasure. We're glad you're safe and we're glad

all people are accounted for and tell your dad happy 80th birthday. Okay?

BORMANN: Thank you, I will.

LEMON: Thank you so much. Again, that was attorney Cheryl Bormann aboard that plane. Mary Schiavo, you there?


LEMON: So we don't know. My question to her I was going to ask her, you know when a runway is short or when the pilot doesn't have much room because as soon as you land, those brakes hit and you can feel it, right, depending which runway you're on and the condition.


LEMON: I didn't get a chance to ask her that but I need to be respectful; she wants to go and figure out what is going on and by all means, she should do that.

SCHIAVO: But she gave us some really good clues because she said she felt it.


You know when your plane, like your car when your car is hydroplaning you can feel it. She said the plane was veering to the left and veering to the right, that's a lack of good contact and traction with the runway. So she did an excellent description of what it was and I think that really goes a long way to explain what happened.

LEMON: Yes, Mary, stand by. Peter Goelz on the phone now. Peter, based on what you heard from the eyewitness there, give us some ideas as to where this investigation is going.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I think there is going to be two things. One is the NTSB will be on the scene first thing in the morning. They will launch a full team and Mary indicated to two American Airlines crashes, Little Rock, I was on scene for and you're absolutely right. A pilot tried to thread the needle and put it down in a tough storm and started hydroplaning almost as soon as they touched down. But in this case, I was interested that one of your previous guests mentioned the flight day started at 7:00 up in Norfolk -- 7:00 a.m.

And we're talking about after 11:00 p.m. when the accident occurred. Apparently occurred in Jacksonville and that the flight was delayed, that is an awfully long flight day for a pilot and copilot and for the flight attendants. I don't know if the CRAFT program, the Civil Reserve Air Fleet have different hours of service but I know a commercial crew would not have been flying 17 or 18 hours at the end of a day and I think we're going to be looking at -- we're looking at a pretty tired crew and probably a pretty challenging situation. LEMON: Peter Goelz, we want to thank you for joining us, as well as

all of our aviation experts and in particular Cheryl Bormann, the attorney on board the flight that gave us a vivid explanation of what happened, what she experienced as this plane landed and skidded off the runway in Jacksonville, Florida. I'm Don Lemon. One hundred thirty-six people on board this Boeing Air 737. All of them accounted for; 21 people, though, taken to local hospital with some injuries but in good condition tonight. I want to thank you for watching. Our coverage, of course, is going to continue through the night here on CNN and at We're going to join Anderson Cooper in progress after this.