Landing Gear On Southwest Jet Collapses, 10 Injured

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Landing gear fails on Southwest jet

The nose of the blue-and-orange jet came to rest on the ground after the aircraft came to a stop, and passengers evacuated the aircraft on emergency slides. (CNN photo)

(CNN) — Ten people suffered minor injuries Monday when the nose gear of a Southwest Airlines jetliner collapsed after landing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the city’s Port Authority reported.

Southwest Flight 345 was landing at LaGuardia from Nashville about 5:40 p.m. when the accident occurred. The nose of the blue-and-orange jet came to rest on the ground after the aircraft came to a stop, and passengers evacuated the aircraft on emergency slides.

“The aircraft skidded down the runway on its nose and then veered off and came to rest in a grass area between the runway and taxiway foxtrot,” Thomas Bosco, the airport’s general manager, told reporters. It stopped about halfway down the 7,000-foot runway.

Kathy Boles, a passenger aboard the Boeing 737, said a “strong jolt” could be felt inside the cabin when the gear failed and the nose slammed into the tarmac.

“It was just a bang and a bounce, and then a slam on the brakes and a skidding feeling,” Boles told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

“I feel extremely blessed to have come off that,” she said. “It just really felt like the plane could have broken in half, it was such a hard impact.”

Fellow passenger Anastasia Elliot said the situation was “pretty chaotic.”

“We hit the ground pretty hard and slid,” she said. “There was a lot of smoke filling the plane, just a lot of smoke and burnt rubber.”

Another passenger said it felt like the plane crashed and then skidded to a stop.

“Everything in the plane that was loose went flying forward,” Bill Roland said. “There were cell phones, iPads, books (and) drinks all skidded up.”

A total of 150 people were aboard the flight. In addition to the 10 injured aboard the plane, a Port Authority police officer was treated for heat exhaustion, Bosco said.

There were conflicting reports about how many members of the aircraft’s crew were among the injured. Southwest said three flight attendants had reported being hurt, while the Bosco said the six-member crew had been taken to a hospital for observation.

LaGuardia was closed to arriving flights as emergency vehicles surrounded the disabled jet, but the airport was back open for arrivals and departures by 7 p.m., Bosco said.

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