Monday, July 22, 2013

Southwest Airlines Plane's Nosegear Collapses During Landing at LaGuardia: WSJ

Updated July 22, 2013, 7:31 p.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

The landing gear of a Southwest Airlines jet collapsed after it landed at New York's LaGuardia Airport Monday evening, injuring at least 10 passengers and temporarily closing one of the nation's busiest airports, authorities said.

The Boeing 737, with 149 people onboard, including the crew, had just landed at LaGuardia around 5:45 p.m. and was taxiing when a front wheel apparently popped off, said a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport. Photographs and video showed the plane resting on its nose, its tail in the air, with emergency crews gathered around it.

Six passengers were transported to a hospital, and four were treated at the scene for back and neck pain, the spokesman said. Four others suffered anxiety attacks. Authorities said the plane didn't catch on fire.

The flight's crew reported possible landing-gear issues before landing, after a roughly 3½ hour flight from Nashville International Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in an email.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was gathering information about the incident. Southwest Airlines issued a statement confirming the incident but provided no details.

The incident caused delays for dozens of flights in and out of La Guardia, with delays rippling out across the country, authorities said. By about 7:06 p.m., authorities had opened one of the airport's two runways.

Matt Lewis, 48, a software salesman from Matthews, N.C., said he was on a US Airways flight that was about to take off for Charlotte when his plane was grounded and more than a dozen other planes were brought to a dead halt in and around the runway. "It looked like it just crumbled on impact," Mr. Lewis said of the airliner's nose landing gear.

—Jon Ostrower contributed to this article.