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Plane lands at wrong US airport

13 January 2014, 18:03

Branson Missouri - U.S. officials are investigating why a Southwest Airlines flight landed at the wrong airport, where the runway was half as long as the one at the target destination.

It's the second time in less than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong U.S. airport.

Southwest Airlines Flight 4013, carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was scheduled to go from Chicago's Midway International Airport to Branson Airport in Missouri, airline spokesman Brad Hawkins said Sunday in a statement. But the Boeing 737-700 landed at Taney County Airport, 7 miles (11 kilometers) away.

"The landing was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe," Hawkins said.

Hawkins did not have information on why the plane went to the wrong airport. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the agency is investigating.

In November, a Boeing 747 that was supposed to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas landed at another airport 9 miles (14 kilometers) away. That plane was flown by a two-person crew and had no passengers.

In Sunday evening's incident, the plane landed at an airport whose website says the longest runway is 3,738 feet (1,140 meters). The website for the target airport at Branson says its runway is 7,140 feet (2,175 meters) long.

"The landing was really abrupt and the pilot applied the brakes really strongly," Dallas attorney Scott Schieffer, who was on the flight, told WFAA-TV. "You could hear it and you could certainly feel it."

Flight 4013 had been scheduled to continue from Branson to Dallas. Hawkins said a plane was flown in specifically to take the passengers and crew to Dallas.

Hawkins told The Associated Press the aircraft will be able to take off on the smaller runway, and Southwest expects to fly it out "as early as (Monday) morning."

The Taney County Sheriff's Office referred all calls to Taney County Airport. Messages left for comment from the airport were not immediately returned.

- AP

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