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Pilots grounded after landing at wrong airport

January 13, 2014 • National News


In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 photo provided by Scott Schieffer, passengers exit a Southwest Airlines flight that was supposed to land at Branson Airport in Branson, Mo., but instead landed at Taney County Airport, in Hollister, Mo., that only has about half as much runway. A Southwest spokesman said all 124 passengers and five crew members were safe. (AP Photo/ Scott Schieffer) MANDATORY CREDIT

DALLAS (AP) — The pilots of a Southwest Airlines flight that mistakenly landed at the wrong Missouri airport were grounded Monday, less than a day after they touched down at a small airfield that gave them only half as much room as normal to stop the jet.

Southwest Flight 4013 was traveling Sunday evening from Chicago’s Midway Airport to Branson Airport but instead landed at tiny Taney County Airport seven miles away.

No one was hurt, but after the 124 passengers were let off the plane, they noticed the airliner had come dangerously close to the end of the runway, where it could have tumbled down a steep embankment if it had left the pavement.

“As soon as we touched down, the pilot applied the brake very hard and very forcibly,” said Scott Schieffer, a Dallas attorney. “I was wearing a seatbelt, but I was lurched forward because of the heavy pressure of the brake. You could smell burnt rubber, a very distinct smell of burnt rubber as we were stopping.”

Branson Airport has a runway that is more than 7,100 feet long — a typical size for commercial traffic. The longest runway at Taney County is only slightly more than 3,700 feet because it is designed for small private planes.

After the jet stopped, a flight Login to read more

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