The front landing gear of a Boeing 737 (Flight 345 from Southwest Airlines) traveling from Nashville, Tennessee failed on Monday evening when it landed in LaGuardia Airport in New York at 5:40 pm ET. The front end of the Boeing hit the runway, sparks flew and 10 of the 150 passengers sustained minor injuries.
LaGuardia Airport was closed for 80 minutes on Monday evening when Flight 345’s landing gear malfunctioned. The airport later reopened one of the runways around 7 pm ET. Witness and passenger Frank Ferramosca from Manhattan said, “It sounded as if you hit a brick wall.” He described hearing a “huge bang, and no one really knew what happened.” The cabin filled with smoke, passengers and crew exited via the plane’s emergency slides and people were screaming.
Emergency personnel rushed to the aircraft after the landing and sprayed the front of the airplane with foam. The injured passengers were treated on the runway; six of them were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center.
The director of aviation at the Port Authority of New Jersey and New York, Thomas Bosco, explained that the pilot did not notify the airport of a problem with the aircraft. The malfunctioning landing gear caused the airplane to skid for 2,000 feet on the runway; Bosco said the “aircraft skidded down the runway on its nose and then veered off and came to rest in the grass area.” He also stated that the flight’s crew is being observed at a hospital.
Since Monday, passengers at LaGuardia have been experiencing an average of 90-minute-long delays. There have also been various cancellations of flights (approximately 350 cancellations on Monday and 150 on Tuesday). This morning, the damaged aircraft was moved on a flatbed and taken off the runway. It is being kept in a hangar so that an investigation can be conducted as authorities attempt to determine the cause of the accident.
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