NTSB launches investigation into Southwest hard landing
Southwest flight 345 rests on its nose after landing at LaGuardia Airport (Photo by NTSB)
Electronics bay of Southwest 737 at LGA penetrated by landing gear (Photo by NTSB)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
The federal government is launching a full-scale investigation into what caused a Southwest Airlines flight from Nashville to skid down a runway without nose gear Monday in New York.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday the plane's nose gear collapsed up and into the fuselage, damaging the electronics bay that houses avionics, when the Boeing 737-700 aircraft touched down.
Flight 345 then slid approximately 2,175 feet on its nose along Runway 4 at LaGuardia before coming to a rest, NTSB investigators said.
Emergency escape slides then deployed normally, according to the NTSB, and passengers exited the plane to safety.
It was a scary experience for those on the flight, including Nashville resident Bill Roland.
"It sort of came down really steep, and then it banged. It banged again and then skidded to a stop," Roland said.
Southwest Airlines said the aircraft entered service in 1999 and was last inspected on July 18, and the airline said it is working with Boeing and the NTSB on the investigation.
At Nashville International Airport on Tuesday, the only signs something was amiss at LaGuardia were the cancellations and delays coming out of there.
Some who returned from LaGuardia on Southwest were at the New York airport waiting to come to Music City when the incident happened. Now, they are happy to be home.
"Scary. I think it was scary to see it actually do that, but I felt bad for the people that was on there," said traveler Shanta Walker, whose flight was canceled Monday evening.
"The odd thing was we never heard anything inside the airport about what was going on on the runway," said traveler Cathey Norton, whose flight was also canceled Monday evening.
The damaged jetliner was loaded onto a trailer and moved off the LaGuardia runway into a hangar, where agents will continue their investigation.
Also, NTSB investigators have taken the plane's voice recorder to headquarters in Washington for analysis. That will let them listen to exactly what was happening in the cockpit.
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