Southwest plane lands at LaGuardia with nose gear collapse

Courtesy NBC News

By M. Alex Johnson, Staff Writer, NBC News

A runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport was reopened Tuesday after a disabled Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 skidded to a hard landing Monday evening as its front landing gear collapsed, authorities said.

The Port Authority said crews with cranes lifted the jet from the runway onto a flatbed truck. Officials announced on Tuesday morning that the runway had been reopened.

At least 10 people of the 149 on board the flight from Nashville, Tenn., suffered minor injuries in the incident.

The jet came to a stop on Runway 4 at 5:45 p.m. ET, said Thomas Bosco, the airport's general manager and acting aviation director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Four others refused treatment, he said.

The airport, which was closed after the accident, was reopened at 7 p.m. ET, Bosco said. Inbound flights are being delayed as much as two hours, according to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware. Outbound delays are minimal.

There was no immediate explanation for why the landing gear malfunctioned. The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday night that the pilot "reported possible front landing gear issues before landing," but it gave no further details.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending an investigator to gather information. It told NBC News that it hadn't yet decided whether to dispatch a full investigative team.

About a dozen emergency vehicles surrounded the Southwest plane, whose passengers evacuated by the rear chute and were taken by bus to the terminal. Bosco said none of the injuries occurred during the evacuation.

"It's a surreal scene here given what just happened in the Bay Area," Sam Brock of NBC Bay Area, who saw the incident from another plane he was on at the airport, told NBC New York in an on-air telephone interview, referring to the crash of Asiana Flight 214 early this month at San Francisco International Airport.

Brock said the pilot of his flight told passengers that there were no serious injuries and no sign of fire or flames on the Southwest plane.

Steve Czech, who was on the runway waiting for his American Airlines flight to take off, told NBC New York that he saw the Southwest plane touch down.

"There was just this fireball going down the runway. It was unbelievable — it was probably 300 yards from us, if that," Czech said.

"Clearly, there was no nose gear," he said. "It was just screeching down the runway, fire on both sides. There was debris kind of rolling off to the sides."

John Blackman and Kip Whitlock of NBC News contributed to this report.

Read on


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment