US & Canada

Southwest Airlines 'wrong airport' pilots suspended

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Media captionAll 124 passengers and 5 crew on board the Southwest Airlines flight were reported safe after it landed at the wrong airport on Sunday

Two pilots who landed a passenger jet plane at the wrong airport in Missouri have been suspended while US authorities investigate the mishap.

The aircraft returned to normal service on Monday, almost a day after landing on a runway roughly half the length of its intended destination.

On Sunday evening it landed at the small Taney County airport, seven miles (11km) away from Branson, Missouri.

It is the second jet to land at the wrong airport in the US since November.

Passengers on board the Boeing 737-700 reported an abrupt landing as the large plane touched down on the 3,738ft (1,140m) runway.

"The pilot applied the brakes really strongly," passenger Scott Schieffer told local media. "You could hear it and you could certainly feel it."

FAA investigation

All on board, including five crew members, were reported safe.

Passengers were driven to the correct airport and then flew on to Dallas on a different aircraft, according to Southwest spokeswoman Michelle Agnew.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has opened an investigation into the incident.

The captain of the aircraft, who had 15 years of experience, and first officer have been removed from flying duties during the inquiry, Ms Agnew said.

The aircraft took off from Taney on Monday afternoon heading towards Tulsa, Oklahoma for refuelling before returning to normal service.

In November, a large cargo jet scheduled to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas inadvertently landed at a much smaller airport nearby not designed for such aircraft.

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