(Jared Rosenstein/AP)

Southwest Airlines Jet Crashes Nose-First in NYC

Nearly two dozen people were injured when the plane's nose gear collapsed upon landing.

(Jared Rosenstein/AP)
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New York City's LaGuardia Airport reopened a runway that had closed after a Southwest Airlines jet crashed when its nose gear collapsed during a landing Monday evening.

The airport remained closed for a few hours after the Boeing 737 hit Monday around 5:40 p.m. Flights were delayed for two hours Tuesday as crews worked to remove the plane and officials inspected the runway, according to CNN.

 

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman told Reuters that Flight 345 left Nashville, Tenn. just before 2 p.m. Monday and that the crew reported landing-gear issues as it approached New York. The incident is under investigation by both the FAA and the National Transportation Security Board.

Southwest Airlines said in a statement released less than two hours after the crash that the 150 passengers were removed from the aircraft and relocated to the terminal. Emergency responders initially treated eight people – five passengers and three crew members – for injuries from the crash, the statement said.

[PHOTOS: San Francisco Plane Crash Kills 2, Injures 181]

"Eyewitness reports indicate the aircraft's nose gear collapsed upon landing," the airline said in the statement.

Thomas Bosco, the acting director of aviation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told The Associated Press that a total of 10 passengers were treated at the scene, six were taken to a hospital with minor injuries and six crew members were taken to another hospital for observation.

[READ: LaGuardia Looking to Fully Re-Open]

Bosco said that when the plane collapsed, it "skidded down the runway on its nose and then veered off and came to rest in the grass area."

John Nance, a former 737 pilot, told Bloomberg that the crash was a "very rare occurrence," not just for Southwest, but for the industry as a whole.

"They've got superlative maintenance," Nance told Bloomberg. "The reality is there is so little that goes wrong with the system, unless we started having one of these on a regular basis, this really isn't something anybody should be worrying about."

One passenger, Kathy Boles, said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that she felt a "strong jolt" when the gear failed and the jet landed nose first into the tarmac.

"It was just a bang and a bounce, and then a slam on the brakes and a skidding feeling," Boles said. "I feel extremely blessed to have come off that. It just really felt like the plane could have broken in half, it was such a hard impact."

[ALSO: Asiana Passenger Was Alive When Hit By Multiple Emergency Vehicles]

Another passenger, Anastasia Elliot, said to CNN that 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."

The incident comes just more than two weeks after Asiana Airlines Flight 214, also a Boeing jetliner, crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport that sent dozens to the hospital and initially killed two passengers, as well as a third who was run over by an emergency response vehicle.

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