The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

July 23, 2013

Official: LaGuardia looking to fully re-open

NEW YORK (AP) — Officials were hoping to have both runways at LaGuardia Airport up and fully functional after the collapse of a plane's front landing gear sent it skidding along the tarmac and caused a temporary suspension of operations.

The front landing gear of arriving Southwest Airlines flight 345 collapsed Monday right after the plane touched down on the runway, officials said.

Ten passengers were treated at the scene, with six being taken to a hospital with minor injuries, said Thomas Bosco, Acting Director of Aviation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the area airports. The six crew members were taken to another hospital for observation.

Bosco said the incident forced the temporary closing of the airport, with one runway coming back into service around 7 p.m. It was hoped both runways would be open Tuesday morning.

Dallas-based Southwest said there were 150 people on the flight coming from Nashville, Tenn., while the Port Authority said the total was 149.

Bosco said the nose gear of the plane collapsed when it landed at 5:40 p.m., and "the aircraft skidded down the runway on its nose and then veered off and came to rest in the grass area."

Bosco said there was no advance warning of any possible problem before the landing.

A passenger, Sgt. 1st Class Anniebell Hanna, 43, of the South Carolina National Guard, said the flight had been delayed leaving Nashville. Passengers had heard an announcement saying "something was wrong with a tire," she said, waiting in a room at LaGuardia several hours after the incident.

At LaGuardia, "when we got ready to land, we nosedived," said Hanna. She and some family members were coming to New York for a visit.

"I hit my head against the seat in front of me," she said. "I hit hard."

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