NPR logo Colombian Commercial Airplane Crashes On Island Runway, Killing One Passenger

Colombian Commercial Airplane Crashes On Island Runway, Killing One Passenger

A plane that crashed lays in pieces along the runway at the airport on San Andres Island in Colombia. Richard Garcia/AP hide caption

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Richard Garcia/AP

Early this morning, a commercial airliner crashed on San Andres, a Colombian island. The Boeing 737-700's fuselage broke into three pieces. Remarkably, only one person was reported dead.

According to the BBC, "the passenger jet, operated by local airline Aires, was reportedly hit by lightning before it crashed."

A 68-year-old woman was reported dead. Of the 131 people on board — 125 passengers and six crew members, there were only a handful of injuries.

"San Andres Governor Pedro Gallardo described it as a 'miracle' that so many survived," the BBC reports. "We have to give thanks to God."

On its Twitter page, Aires — the Colombian carrier that owned the airplane — said it regrets what happened to the flight, it is working hard to provide attention and information to the families of passengers, and it is working with investigators to determine what happened to the jet.

According to The Associated Press, eight U.S. citizens were on board the plane. The wire service reports on what led to the crash:

Passengers said the pilot had announced an impending landing and all seemed normal as the plane descended through rain.

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.