Southwest plane takes off from wrong airport in Missouri, landing under probe

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Hollister, MO, United States (4E) – A Southwest Airlines plane on Monday took off without incident from a Missouri airport where it wrongly landed on Sunday as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced the investigation of the incident.

The Boeing 737-700 took off from the short runway at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Hollister around 3 p.m. and flew to Branson Airport six miles away.

The Southwest Flight 4013 with 124 passengers was supposed to land at the Branson Airport, whose runway is 7,140 feet long compared to Graham Clark’s 3,738 feet runway. The pilots managed to safely land at the smaller airport around 6:25 p.m. CST and narrowly avoided overshooting the runway before telling passengers they were at the wrong airport.

The NTSB said Monday it is investigating the erroneous landing and will analyze the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from the airplane. The two pilots, both with 13 years experience in flying with Southwest, are suspended while the investigation is made, said airlines spokeswoman Brandy King.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines said Monday it is refunding the fares for inconvenienced passengers of Flight 4013. The company also apologized and provided future travel credit to the affected passengers. It thanked first responders and Branson Airport Administrators for helping take care of our customers and their baggage on Sunday,

The plane departed Chicago’s Midway International Airport on Sunday afternoon for Branson Airport. Some passengers were being flown to Dallas but had to take a replacement airplane at Branson Airport to continue to their destination. The replacement airplane took off at 10:36 p.m. Sunday from the correct Branson airport and landed at Dallas Love Field at 11:45 p.m.

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