The airline and federal officials said Tuesday they are continuing to investigate why a Southwest Boeing 737 with 124 passengers headed for the Branson Airport landed several miles away at the Taney County Airport at College of the Ozarks. It has a runway roughly half as long.
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King says a dispatcher was sitting behind the captain and first officer. Dispatchers work with pilots to plan flight routes after considering weather and other factors.
It's not uncommon for airline employees to sit in the jumpseat with the pilots' permission, but federal officials are likely to consider whether the dispatcher's presence distracted the pilots.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt has sent a letter to the FAA demanding a full investigation. The NTSB plans to interview the crew and look at the plane's black boxes.
Southwest Airlines Flight Takes Off Error Free
Live video streams showed the Southwest 737 taxing then taking off from the C of O airport without any incidents. Stay tuned for continuing coverage on KTTS.com
Pilots Put On Paid Leave Pending Investigation
NTSB is investigating an incident involving Southwest Flight #4013 that landed at wrong airport in Hollister, MO yesterday.— NTSB (@NTSB) January 13, 2014
Senator Blunt Wants Explanation and Full Investigation
Senator Roy Blunt (MO-R), Ranking Member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and security, released a statement Monday demanding an explanation into how the flight landed at the wrong airport.
“I’ve landed at this airport and it’s tough to navigate in small planes – let alone in an aircraft this size. People have every right to assume that they will arrive at their correct destination. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I will insist that federal regulators do a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened in Southwest Missouri.”
A few homes near College of the Ozarks in Branson, Mo., were rattled tonight by a low-flying passenger jet from Southwest Airlines.
The flight coming from Chicago was supposed to land at the Branson airport, but touched down at the College of the Ozarks airport just after six Sunday night, which has a much shorter runway.
Listeners tell KTTS News they saw fire trucks rush to the scene. Reports from the scene indicate they may try to shuttle passengers to the Branson Airport before trying to figure out how to get the plane back in the air.
Southwest Airlines spokesman Dan Landson tells KTTS the Boeing 737-700 carried 124 customers with a crew of five. KTTS News hasn't received any injury reports at this time.
The National Transportation Safety Board and The Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.
Passenger Video From Inside The Cabin
Passenger Abbey Benesch sent us in this video from inside the cabin as the Captain explains what is going on.
Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell Says Possible Pilot Mistake
"The landing was safe, no one was injured, " Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell tells KTTS News. Russell says they will be transporting passengers and luggage to the Branson Airport.
"The issue now is going to be to determine if it (C of O runway) is long enough to take off," Russell tells KTTS News.
Reaction On Social Media
I'm a huge advocate of @SouthwestAir, but the fact that you just "accidentally" landed my flight at the wrong airport is really concerning..— Hunter Poole (@gooodwillhunter) January 13, 2014
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