World Pompeo insists North Korea nuclear deal still possible despite weapons test
He also claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is on board with coming to an accord.Related: Kim Jong-un watched weapons test, says North Korean state media“Chairman Kim has repeated that,” Pompeo said. “He’s repeated that quite recently, in fact.”Pompeo said the latest missile launch did not cross any international boundaries.“That is, they landed in the water east of North Korea and didn’t present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan,” he said. “And we know that they were relatively short-range.”Pompeo’s statements about brokering a deal echo those of Donald Trump, who said he still thought the US and North Korea would reach a nuclear deal despite the fact that talks have stalled since the leaders’ recent unsuccessful summit meeting in Vietnam.“Anything in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!”Then on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Margaret Brennan asked Pompeo whether North Korea could be trusted to abide by the conditions of any agreement.Brennan pointed to recent comments from Cindy Warmbier, whose son Otto died after being released from North Korean custody, in which she reportedly said that diplomacy with the country was a “charade.”“Well, I’ve gotten to know the Warmbier family, especially Cindy. She’s an amazing patriot and a remarkable woman and I have enormous sympathy for her and admiration for her as well, and I completely understand her remarks. We’re hopeful,” Pompeo said.“We don’t expect Chairman Kim to tell us the truth. That’s why we’re going to verify any denuclearization that takes place. That’s why we will ensure that we see actual on-the-ground- on-the-ground outcomes.”“We’re not going to take anyone’s word for it but we want to work to try and do that in a way that is a negotiated solution and that’s our mission set,” he also said.Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota also referred to Warmbier’s statements during a CNN’s “State of the Union” appearance on Sunday:“There isn’t a plan and there isn’t a real negotiating tactic…” Klobuchar said. “Maybe he [Trump] should listen to Otto Warmbier’s mother who said we should be upping sanctions.”A report from Pyongyang’s official, state-run Korean Central News Agency said Kim watched the drill Saturday expressing “great satisfaction.”Kim reportedly emphasized that his soldiers maintain a “high-alert posture.” He also called for them to ramp up “defend the political sovereignty and economic self-sustenance of the country,” according to reports.A diplomatic summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi collapsed earlier this year, without a denuclearization accord. North Korea wants broad sanctions relief, but the U.S position has been that its approach to disarmament is insufficient.Experts have said these kind of provocations are likely part of North Korea’s playbook to push the US into loosening sanctions, meant to be taken as a warning after the talks failed.
In addition to juggling three small children, a rigorous royal appearance schedule, and preparing to become Queen Consort, Kate Middleton somehow found the time to play peacemaker between her husband, Prince William, and brother-in-law Prince Harry.
ICYMI, the royal Fab Four have not been a united front for quite a while. First, people speculated that Kate and Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, had a falling out, but once that was squashed, the media moved on to a new conspiracy theory: the royal brothers were actually the ones experiencing a rift.
After a super awkward run-in between during Easter Sunday service, in which Will and Harry practically ignored each other, Kate reportedly put her foot down and encouraged a reunion. After church, the trio went to Frogmore Cottage to spend some quality time together and see the new renovations (Meghan was there, too).
According to the Mirror, Kate was the one who urged Harry to invite Will as a sort of „olive branch.” A source added: “Kate is acutely aware of the importance of William and Harry getting along, not just because of perception but their collective responsibility to the monarchy as a whole.”
She also feels responsible for bringing the brothers together, as Harry has been super supportive of her relationship with Will over the years. „Harry has acted as counsel to his brother throughout William and Kate’s more turbulent years, and the three of them had gone on to form the most tremendous partnership,” the insider added.
We’re just glad Harry and Will made up before the arrival of Baby Sussex.
The Pope evoked the „new winter” plaguing Bulgaria and other European nations facing an exodus as well as falling birth rates
Sofia (AFP) – Pope Francis urged Bulgarians to open their hearts and doors to refugees as he began a visit to the European Union’s poorest country, where the main Orthodox Church snubbed holding joint prayers with the pontiff.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov met Francis at the airport, welcoming him with a large pot of kiselo mlyako, a mildly sour-tasting local yoghurt, saying: „This is your grandmother’s yoghurt.”
„The first time I heard the word yoghurt was from my grandmother,” the pope replied.
The Bulgarian emissary to the Vatican Kiril Topalev had earlier quoted the pope as telling him: „I grew up with Bulgarian yoghurt. When I was two years old, my grandmother gave me Bulgarian yoghurt.”
Pope Francis’s three-day tour, which also takes in North Macedonia, includes a visit to a refugee camp on the outskirts of Sofia and a commemoration of Mother Teresa, the most famous native of the Macedonian capital Skopje.
The Pope evoked a „new winter” plaguing Bulgaria and other European nations who face an an exodus of their people as well as falling birth rates, in his first address to Bulgarian officials.
– ‘Don’t close your hearts’ –
The population has fallen to seven million against nine million in 1989, the year communism ended in Bulgaria, and is projected to plunge to 5.4 million in 2050.
„Bulgaria faces the effects of the emigration in recent decades of over two million of her citizens in search of new opportunities for employment,” he said.
This has „led to the depopulation and abandonment of many villages and cities,” he added.
He also touched on the plight of migrants and refugees flocking to the country.
„Bulgaria confronts the phenomenon of those seeking to cross its borders in order to flee wars, conflicts or dire poverty, in the attempt to reach the wealthiest areas of Europe, there to find new opportunities in life or simply a safe refuge,” the pope said.
„To all Bulgarians, who are familiar with the drama of emigration, I respectfully suggest that you not close your eyes, your hearts or your hands — in accordance with your best tradition -– to those who knock at your door,” he said.
Francis, whose papacy has been marred by a wave of child sex abuse allegations against clergy, has made improving interfaith dialogue a priority.
But last month the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod rejected the idea of Orthodox priests participating in a joint „prayer for peace” with the pope in a Sofia square planned for Monday.
The Orthodox Church is instead sending a children’s choir to the downgraded meeting which will be attended by at least one of the capital’s Muslim leaders, a Vatican source said.
– Warming ties –
While the visit will be a particular highlight for the tiny Catholic communities in both countries — 44,000 in Bulgaria and 20,000 in North Macedonia — it is the interaction with their two Orthodox churches that will be most keenly watched.
The Bulgarian church also made clear its opposition to any religious service when the pope visited Sofia’s St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The Pope offered prayers there on Sunday afternoon alone.
But the pontiff sought to stress on the unity of Christians, referring to their persecution irrespective of the church they belonged to.
„How many Christians have suffered for the name of Jesus in this country, particularly during the last century,” of which 45 years were under communist rule, he said.
Bulgaria is the only Orthodox church not to participate in a commission fostering dialogue with the Roman Catholic church.
Relations between Rome and other Orthodox churches have been warming, with February 2016 seeing the historic meeting between Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Cuba.
That was the first such encounter since the schism nearly 1,000 years ago that tore Christianity in two.
– Pope ‘open and sensitive’ –
„I am Orthodox Christian but I admire the openness and sensitivity of the Pope,” said Dora Kraytcheva, a 48-year-old woman. „Why should we cling to dogmas from the Middle Ages?”
The Argentine pontiff’s visit to Bulgaria and North Macedonia comes after the leaders of both countries extended an invitation to him following a traditional annual visit to the tomb of St Cyril in Rome.
In April 2018, the Council of Europe voiced concern about Bulgarian efforts to integrate Middle Eastern refugees and the „generally negative public opinion” concerning refugees.
Days before arriving in Sofia, the pope hit out at „conflictual nationalism” which „raises walls, even racism”.
„The way in which a nation welcomes migrants reveals its vision of human dignity,” he said on Thursday.
Currently Bulgaria’s migrant reception centres have an occupancy rate of only 10 percent, while the entire 274-kilometre (170-mile) Bulgarian-Turkish border is blocked by a barbed-wire fence.
We take a look.
Meet the Iskander: Russia’s Latest Navy-Killer Missile?
But also note that the DF-26 has an estimated range of 2,500 miles, much greater than a Kalibr or an Iskander-M. A 300-mile missile may be a useful coastal defense weapon in confined waters like the Baltic or Black Seas, enabling Russia to prevent NATO ships from getting too close to its territory. But it’s not a long-range access denial weapon.
First, China developed long-range „carrier-killer” ballistic missiles. Now, Russia’s Iskander ballistic missile system may have the same mission.
(This first appeared late last year.)
In late July and early August, Russia conducted two simulated „electronic launches” of the 9K720 Iskander-M (NATO code name, SS-26 Stone) against ships in the Black Sea, according to Russian media.
„An ‘electronic’ launch likely means a field combat simulation where the missile unit prepares and performs all procedures for a real-world launch without firing a live missile,” explains the Russian Defense Policy blog.
But exactly which missile did Russia pretend to launch? The Iskander, developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the Scud, is a road-based mobile launch system that can fire several models of ballistic and cruise missiles. The Iskander-M is a single-stage ballistic missile, armed with a conventional or nuclear warhead, and a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles).
FILE – In this Nov. 14, 2001 file photo, Suhail Shaheen, then Deputy ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, gives an interview in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Taliban say the gap is narrowing in talks with Washington’s special peace envoy over a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The two sides are continuing to meet in Qatar, where the insurgent movement maintains a political office. In a voice message sent Saturday, May 4, 2019, to The Associated Press, the Taliban spokesman in Doha says both sides have offered new proposals for drawing down U.S. and NATO forces. (AP Photo/Tariq Aziz, File)
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban on Saturday said the gap is narrowing in talks with Washington’s special peace envoy over a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The two sides are continuing to meet in Qatar, where the insurgent movement maintains a political office.
In a voice message to The Associated Press, the Taliban spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, said both sides have offered new proposals for drawing down U.S. and NATO forces. This would be a significant initial step toward a deal to end nearly 18 years of war and America’s longest military engagement.
„There are proposals to lower the gap between the two sides, but (it) still needs negotiation to reach a final agreement,” he said in an English language statement.
Other Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations had earlier told AP that the U.S. was seeking a year and a half to withdraw its estimated 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, while the Taliban wanted it done in six months. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
It remains unknown what new proposals either side has brought to the table.
Talks between the U.S. and Taliban, which began last year with the appointment of Washington’s peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, have focused on a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal as well as Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be used as a staging arena for global terrorist attacks. The U.S. also wants guarantees that the Taliban won’t harbor terrorists and that the insurgent group will help in the fight against an Islamic State affiliate that has taken root mostly in eastern Afghanistan.
The Taliban have publicly assailed the IS affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, and have waged bitter battles against the group’s followers, most often in eastern Nangarhar province but also in the north of Afghanistan, where an IS affiliate, known as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, has recruited more Afghan followers to IS.
In a tweet at the outset of the latest round of talks with the Taliban earlier this week, Khalilzad said the U.S. and the Taliban need to find common ground. He laid out four „inter-connected issues: troop withdrawal, counter-terrorism assurances, intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations and reduction in violence leading to a comprehensive cease fire.”
Until they do, Khalilzad said „nothing will be final.”
Still the Taliban refuse to stop fighting until U.S. and NATO troops withdraw. The Taliban continue to attack Afghanistan’s beleaguered military, causing staggering casualties.
The Taliban officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the group has concerns about a cease-fire: Taliban commanders in the field are unlikely to accept a cease-fire while foreign troops are still in Afghanistan, and once a cease-fire is declared it would be difficult to re-start the fighting if the U.S. reneges on its deal.
An intra-Afghan dialogue that was to be held in Doha last month collapsed after both sides failed to agree on participants. Earlier this week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held a Loya Jirga or grand council of about 3,200 Afghans that included tribal elders, activists, prominent Afghans and others.
The council was to draft a position for talks with the Taliban, but several prominent politicians were no-shows, including his partner in the Unity Government, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, exposing the deepening rifts in the government.
Khalilzad has urged both sides to find a middle ground to start talks in Doha.
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is leaning on the United States to help settle a dispute with China, which has started to block imports of vital Canadian commodities amid a dispute over a detained Huawei executive.
In a sign of increasing frustration at what it sees as a lackluster U.S. response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is signaling it could withhold cooperation on major issues.
China has upped the pressure on Canada in recent weeks over the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, arrested last December on a U.S. warrant. It halted Canadian canola imports and last week suspended the permits of two major pork producers.
After Meng’s Vancouver arrest, Chinese police also detained two Canadian citizens.
Beijing is refusing to allow a Canadian trade delegation to visit, forcing officials to use video conference calls as they try to negate a major threat to commodity exports.
With no cards to play against China without risking significant economic damage, Canada has launched a full-court press in Washington, which is negotiating its own trade deal with Beijing.
The results have been meager.
„It’s a very challenging situation. When we raise it with the Americans they just say, ‘Dealing with the Chinese is tough’,” said a Canadian government source.
„It’s also not clear who we should be targeting since you never know who is up and who is down in the administration at any given point,” said the source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.
Among those the Canadians approached are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Republican Senator Jim Risch, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
The State Department said it was „concerned” by the canola ban. In March, the Foreign Relations Committee responded to Canada’s concerns by passing a bipartisan resolution supporting the country.
Canada says the United States is obliged to help, given that the U.S. arrest warrant triggered the crisis with Beijing.
U.S. negotiators have rejected Chinese proposals to include the Huawei issue in their current trade deal discussions, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
Canada’s U.S. ambassador David MacNaughton, who noted Canada has assisted the current U.S. administration on diplomatic efforts with Venezuela, Latvia and NATO, strongly suggested future requests for aid would not be met so positively unless Washington cooperated more.
„How do you go to canola farmers and relatives of the two (Canadian detainees) and say ‘Well, actually, notwithstanding all of this, we’re going to try and do whatever we can to help?'” he said.
„It makes it much more difficult in public opinion terms for the prime minister to have permission to do some of the things that would be in both countries’ interests.”
MacNaughton, who has cabinet-level status in Trudeau’s government, played a key role in negotiating a new North American trade deal last year.
Relations between Trump and Trudeau are formal at best. Officials in Ottawa have not forgotten that the president blew up last year’s Group of Seven summit in Canada by describing Trudeau as very dishonest and weak.
„At the political level, this administration doesn’t like us very much,” said a second well-placed source.
Intertwined with the China crisis is a second problem: the tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum that Trump imposed last year on national security grounds.
Meng, who is under house arrest at her Vancouver mansion, next appears in court on May 8 ahead of an extradition hearing, in a process that could take years.
MacNaughton said part of Canada’s frustration also stems from a lack of information on U.S. intentions toward Meng. Trump has previously suggested the charges against her could be dropped if that would help the trade talks.
„What we’ve said is, ‘We’d like to have a little better sense of what your plans are in terms of dealing with her. Are you engaged in negotiations over a plea deal?’,” he said. „We’re completely in the dark.”
(Additional reporting by Chris Prentice and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Amran Abocar and Lisa Shumaker)
(Bloomberg) — Turkey began its largest offensive in months against Kurdish rebels across its borders, after its army came under attack from militants and faced hostile fire from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkish forces killed 28 Kurdish militants after they carried out two separate attacks from hideouts in Syria and Iraq that left four Turkish troops dead, the state news agency Anadolu reported.
Saturday’s cross-border offensive marked one of the deadliest days recently for the Turkish military, which conducted the attack along with the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group supported by Turkey.
The clashes also highlight tensions over U.S. backing for the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish rebel group responsible for the death of a Turkish lieutenant earlier in the day. Three other Turkish troops were killed when the PKK, a separate Kurdish militia, shelled a military unit inside Turkey from positions in northern Iraq.
Further south in Idlib in Syria, Assad’s forces shelled an area near a Turkish military outpost, damaging a wall at the periphery of the compound and wounding two Turkish soldiers, state media said. Three Turkish helicopters arrived at the scene shortly after the attack while a military airplane provided air support, Anadolu said.
(Updates with Turkish military operations, attacks in Syria.)
To contact the reporter on this story: Onur Ant in Istanbul at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ian Fisher, Virginia Van Natta
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Brussels (AFP) – EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini on Saturday urged Turkey to reconsider plans to start exploratory drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus, already condemned as illegal by the European Union.
„We express grave concern over Turkey’s announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus,” Mogherini said in a statement.
„In March 2018, the European Council strongly condemned Turkey’s continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” she added.
„In this context, we urgently call on Turkey to show restraint,” she added, warning that the EU would „respond appropriately to any illegal action that violated Cyprus’s rights”.
On Friday Turkey sent out a message on NAVTEX, the international maritime navigational telex system, announcing its vessels would be carrying out drilling operations in the Mediterranean until September.
According to reports in Cypriot media, the operation will encroach on Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.
Turkey’s foreign ministry rejected Mogherini’s comments and said its drilling was based on „legitimate rights”.
In a statement, it accused the government of Cyprus of „irresponsibly jeopardising the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, by disregarding the inalienable rights of the Turkish Cypriots,” which it described as „co-owners” of the island’s natural resources.
Cyprus on Saturday „strongly condemned” Turkey’s move.
„This provocative action by Turkey constitutes a flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus according to International and European Union Law,” a Cyprus Foreign Ministry statement said.
It added that it had „taken all necessary measures to address the situation”.
The government of the Republic of Cyprus only controls two-thirds of the Mediterranean island, the northern third of which is controlled by a Turkish-backed breakaway administration.
Turkey first announced it would be drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus back in February.
The discovery of gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has prompted claims by the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government and Ankara.
European Union member Cyprus has been pressing to develop offshore gas deposits and has signed deals with energy giants Eni, Total and ExxonMobil that have seen them carry out exploratory drilling.
Ankara claims that such exploration deprives the Turkish Cypriot minority of benefiting from the natural resources that surround the island.
In February 2018 a drillship for Italy’s Eni abandoned an attempt to search for gas off Cyprus after it was blocked by Turkish warships.
Turkey has had thousands of troops stationed in the northern third of the island since invading in 1974 in response to a Greek military junta-sponsored coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece.
The northern part of the island was declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognised by Ankara. UN-sponsored efforts to reunify the island have failed.
Egypt, which last year signed a gas deal with Cyprus, said Saturday it was following the situation „with interest and concern”.
In a statement, it warned of „the repercussions of any unilateral measures on the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean” and urged states in the region to abide by international law.
Egypt and Cyprus agreed in September to build a pipeline to pump Cypriot gas hundreds of kilometres to Egypt for processing and export to Europe.
Federal investigators were hoping Sunday that information obtained from a flight data recorder would unravel the mystery of why a Boeing 737-800 rolled off the end of a Florida runway and into the St. Johns River.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Dan Boggs said his 16-person team recovered the data recorder Saturday. The voice recorder was in a submerged portion of the plane and was not immediately retrieved, authorities said Sunday.
All 143 people aboard survived the accident Friday night during a thunderstorm at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. They climbed onto the jet’s wings and were taken to safety by rescuers in boats.
Hours earlier, passengers were warned that their aircraft might not be fit for takeoff because of an air conditioning problem, passenger Darwing Silva told the Tampa Bay Times.
„There was the biggest bang” after the plane landed, he said. Silva was in the exit row, and he opened the exit door, stepped out onto the wing, looked down and saw water. Help soon arrived, and he was the last person on his side of the plane to board a lifeboat.
More than 20 people were treated for minor injuries, but only one was hospitalized – a 3-month-old baby, and only as a precaution, authorities said.
“I think it is a miracle,” base commanding officer Capt. Michael Connor said. “We could be talking about a different story.”
Engineers were containing spilled fuel with booms and using skimmers to remove fuel from the water, authorities said.
Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said skid marks indicated the plane swerved to the right and hit a sea wall before rolling into the river. He said the runway pavement had no grooves that might have allowed rainwater to flow off more quickly. That would be just one of many possible factors investigators will examine, he said.
Landsberg said a final report could take more than a year to complete. Boeing issued a statement saying it was providing technical assistance to the NTSB’s investigation.
Although the Boeing 737 plane was not completely submerged in the shallow water, the bottom portion, where the pets were positioned, was under water.
One animal that traveled in the cabin was safely removed, the station said.
Connor said emergency responders looked in the cargo bay and did not hear any animal noises or see any crates, suggesting they were under water. The plane was considered unstable, and responders then withdrew for their own safety, Connor said.
He said emergency personnel later completed a second assessment but again they did not see any pet carriers above the water. The flight’s manifest recorded four pets on board, but LaRocque said it’s possible more could have been boarded.
„It’s a very, obviously, rough situation,” he said. „My sympathy and my heart really goes out to those families.”
The plane skidded off the runway around 9:40 a.m. Cheryl Bormann, a prominent defense attorney who was aboard, described a chaotic landing as the pilot appeared to lose control of the aircraft before it touched down, bounced and swerved.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville is a military airport about 8 miles south of downtown.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Black box found after crash landing of Boeing 737 in Jacksonville, Florida; plane had a/c problems earlier
By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – Federal investigators on Saturday began searching for what caused a Boeing jetliner with 143 people on board to slide off a runway into a shallow river while landing at a Jacksonville, Florida, military base during a thunderstorm, injuring 22 people.
The Boeing 737-800 chartered by the U.S. military was arriving from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba with 136 passengers and seven crew members when it slid into the St. Johns River at the end of the 9,000-foot runway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville on Friday night, authorities said.
Officials raised the count of people injured to 22, from 21, after a three-month-old child was admitted to a local hospital for observation, Capt. Michael Connor, commanding officer at the Jacksonville station, told a news conference.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators have recovered an undamaged flight data recorder and it has been sent to Washington for analysis, NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at the news conference.
„We expect to get a very full report on that shortly,” he said.
Investigators said they are hoping to interview the crew on Sunday.
The cockpit voice recorder is in the tail of the plane and submerged underwater. Investigators will not be able to recover it until the aircraft is lifted out of the water, Landsberg said.
„We are going to be very careful in preserving the perishable evidence,” he said.
Officials were determining the best way to remove the plane from the water, NTSB investigator in charge John Lovell said.
„There are some ideas being floated in terms of putting some sort of cushioning below it … and moving it on those cushions,” he said.
The U.S. Coast Guard placed floating booms around the jetliner to contain leaking jet fuel in the water, Landsberg said.
The plane, chartered from Miami Air International, was attempting to land at about 9:40 p.m. local time amid thunder and lightning when it slid off the runway and came to rest in the shallow water of the river, authorities and passengers said.
Landsberg said investigators will look closely at whether the weather played a role in the incident.
„It is a miracle. We could be talking about a different story,” Connor said early on Saturday.
Active duty military members, civilian government employees and their dependents were on the jetliner, Connor told CNN.
The military base is on the western bank of the St. Johns River about 8 miles (12.87 km) south of central Jacksonville, about 350 miles (563.27 km) north of Miami.
Miami Air International is a charter airline operating a fleet of the Boeing 737-800, different from the 737 MAX 8 aircraft that has been grounded following two fatal crashes involving that plane.
Representatives of the airline did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
A spokesman for Boeing Co said that the company was aware of the incident and gathering information.
The charter company is contracted by the military for its twice-weekly „rotator” round-trip service between the U.S. mainland and Guantanamo Bay, said Bill Dougherty, a spokesman for the Jacksonville base.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Steve Gorman and Tim Reid in Los Angeles, and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Diane Craft)