NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The National Transportation Safety Board says the nose gear of a Southwest Airlines jet collapsed backward and into the body of the aircraft following a hard landing at LaGuardia Airport.
The NTSB found the landing gear “collapsed rearward and upward into the fuselage, damaging the electronics bay that houses avionics.”
The agency said on its Twitter feed the plane skidded 2,175 feet before stopping at the edge of the runway Monday. It posted a photo showing the jet’s electronics bay penetrated by the landing gear with only the right axle still attached.
Investigators recovered the flight data and cockpit voice recorders on Tuesday. They’ll be analyzed by the NTSB.
Sixteen passengers suffered minor injuries during Flight 345′s landing. The 737 wound up on a grassy area next to the runway, where passengers used chutes to escape.
Ten passengers were treated at the scene, and six were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, said Thomas Bosco, acting director of aviation for the Port Authority.
Bosco said there was no advance warning of any possible problem before the landing.
“I’m not aware of any call from the pilot about a problem with the landing gear,” he said.
Witnesses reported seeing the plane skid and then catch fire.
“The front one didn’t stop where it’s supposed to, you know it didn’t stop where it was supposed to, it just skidded and was on fire,” Melinda Andujar said.
The nose of the plane was “completely down on the ground,” said Richard Strauss, who was on a nearby plane waiting to take off. “It’s something that I’ve never seen before. It’s bizarre.”
The plane was coming from Nashville, Tenn. The NTSB continues to investigate.
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