In this photo released by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, authorities work at the scene of a plane in the water in Jacksonville, Florida. Picture: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office via AP

Washington - A Boeing 737 passenger jet with 143 people onboard overshot a runway and skidded into a river at Jacksonville Naval Air Base in the southern US state of Florida on Friday, officials said.

Everyone on the plane is "alive and accounted for," the Jacksonville sheriff's office tweeted. The plane apparently hit shallow water.

This was confirmed by local Mayor Lenny Curry. "I've been briefed that all lives have been accounted for," Curry said on Twitter.

Police said 21 people were brought to hospital, though none suffered serious injuries. Pets flying in cargo have not yet been account for.

"At approximately 9:40 pm today, a Boeing 737 arriving from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into Naval Air Station Jacksonville crashed into the St. Johns River at the end of the runway," the public affairs office at Jacksonville Naval Air Station said.

The Boeing 737 arriving at Naval Air Station Jacksonville from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with 136 passengers and seven crew slid off the runway Friday night into the St. Johns River, a NAS Jacksonville news release said. Picture: APTN/AP

According to an airport spokeswoman, 136 passengers and seven crew members were on board. The cause of the incident remains unclear, with the National Transportation Safety Board opening investigations.

There was lightning and thunder at the time of landing.

Base Commander Captain Mike Connor, Commanding Officer NAS Jacksonville, speaks about a plane crash on Friday at a news briefing near the front gate of Naval Air Station (NAS) in Jacksonville. Picture: Gary McCullough/AP

Passengers included military personnel as well as civilians, many of whom were returning home or were on their way to visit family, said a spokesman for the airport during a press conference Friday night.

The plane was owned by charter airline Miami Air International.

Curry wrote on Twitter that rescue services were trying to bring the amount of kerosene in the water under control. He also said that the White House had called to offer help as the situation was unfolding.

dpa