Pilot Grounded After Plane Lands at Wrong Airport

Boeing 737 took off around 3 p.m. Monday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Southwest Airlines jet that landed at the wrong Missouri airport was headed back into service Monday night, but the pilot and first officer were grounded pending an investigation, officials said.

    The Boeing 737 took off around 3 p.m. Monday from M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Taney County. Southwest spokeswoman Michelle Agnew said the jet will travel to Tulsa, Okla., for fueling, then return to service.

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    Southwest Airlines Flight 4013 was traveling from Chicago Midway Airport bound for Branson Airport Sunday night. It landed instead at the smaller airport, 7 miles away.

    No one was hurt but a passenger described the landing as abrupt.

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    "You could feel like something was wrong but we just thought it was maybe turbulence. Or at least I did," the female passenger told NBC News. "Then we hit the runway really hard and really fast. We stopped and then all of a sudden you just smelled rubber, really strong, like through the whole cabin."

    The runway at M. Graham Clark airport is a little more than half as long as the Branson Airport.

    Officials said 124 passengers and five crew members were on the flight. A ground crew from the Branson airport was sent to Taney Airport to process the passengers and their baggage.

    Southwest officials said the pilot and first officer were removed from flying pending an investigation. Federal Aviation Administration officials also said they would investigate.

    The incident was the second in fewer than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong airport.

    In November, a Boeing 747 that was supposed to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., landed 9 miles north at Col. James Jabara Airport. That plane was flown by a two-person crew and had no passengers.