Fuel leak causes environmental concerns

Environmental groups concerned over fuel spill and effects on river

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The St. Johns riverkeeper is monitoring for fuel leaks after a 737 plane skidded off the runway and into the water at Naval Air Station Jacksonville on Friday night. Shortly after the accident, teams put containment booms in place to contain any fuel that may have leaked.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman said a spill could be harmful to marine life and their habitats but they will not know the impact of it until they know how much fuel may have spilled. 

“It depends on volume,” explained Rinaman. “Until we get a better understanding of how much was lost, then we’ll know what the risk is.”

A News4Jax crew went out on a boat Saturday to the area where the plane is located in the river. They did not see any oil slicks but did notice a strong smell of fuel in the air. 

Rinaman said they are watching the situation very closely. She is asking boaters who may be out on the water to look for any signs of a fuel leak and report it. 

“If they see any unusual sheen on the river, or if they see it in wildlife, it can be birds or dolphins, if they appear to be struggling, that’s something to look after and report,” explained Rinaman. 

If you notice anything unusual in the St. Johns River, officials are asking you to call the Florida Department of Environmental Protection hotline at 1-800-320-0519.

The plane, with 142 people on board skidded off the runway at NAS Jax on Friday night. All of the 22 people hospitalized have been released in good condition.

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