MetalCraft response boat assists in Florida plane crash rescue

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(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — MetalCraft Marine was at the center of emergency rescue efforts when a Boeing 737 slid off the runway into the St. Johns River while landing in Jacksonville, Fla.

Late in the evening on May 3, a Miami Air charter with 143 people aboard was arriving from Guantanamo Bay at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. During the landing, the plane skid off the runway into the St. Johns River. All 136 passengers and seven air crew survived the crash, with minor injuries reported.

MetalCraft Marine’s 32-foot Stanley fire/rescue (SFR) landing craft is one of three fire boats in service with the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department (JFRD). It was on the crash site within minutes to assist in the rescue of the 143 people who were on the wings of the aircraft.

The JFRD also has MetalCraft’s FireStorm 50 and FireStorm 70 in its fleet. The high-performance aluminum vessels are a new generation of fireboat technology and can be equipped with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defense options for advanced threats. MetalCraft Marine custom-designs every fireboat and rescue boat.

Following the rescue, JFRD Assistant Chief of Services Richard Reichard said, “MetalCraft’s boat handled beautifully, I wouldn’t change a thing on it.”

MetalCraft invested years of study and research into high-volume pumping systems and their effects on a small boat’s stability, controllability and dynamic loading to produce vessels that deliver a huge impact for their size. Their shallow draft allows them to maneuver in the smallest of marinas and get very close to shore.

“The FireStorm and the SFR boats have proven to be outstanding vessels for our customers,” said Bob Clark, MetalCraft’s contracts manager. “We know that they are designed to be exceptional and it’s always gratifying to hear that they deliver in rescue situations.”

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By Professional Mariner Staff