By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK, July 23 U.S. safety regulators
launched an investigation on Tuesday into the collapse of the
front landing gear on a Southwest Airlines plane shortly
after it touched down at New York's LaGuardia Airport on Monday
The National Transportation Safety Board said the Boeing
737 skidded 2,175 feet on its nose after the front gear
collapsed backwards into the fuselage, damaging avionics and
electronics. Nine people out of 150 passengers and crew on board
suffered minor injuries, the NTSB said.
The agency had been considering not investigating the
incident further, but decided on Tuesday it required further
scrutiny. The accident occurred at 5:45 p.m. (2145 GMT) as
Southwest's Flight 345 arrived at LaGuardia from Nashville,
The NTSB has an investigator at LaGuardia and is reviewing
flight data and cockpit voice recorders at its Washington
headquarters. It will also interview the pilots.
Boeing said it has people at the airport who are supporting
Southwest and is providing technical assistance to the NTSB.
The landing gear is made by a unit of United Technologies
Corp. Company officials have said they were looking into
the incident, but could not be reached for further comment.
The accident closed one of the busiest airports in the
region for more than an hour Monday evening. More than 180
flights in and out of the airport were canceled by Tuesday
afternoon, according to the FlightStats tracking service.
The runway where the jet landed reopened on Tuesday, though
the airport reported delays through the day. There were delays
of around 90 minutes on Tuesday morning as result of the
incident, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority
of New York and New Jersey, which runs the area's airports.
There were similar delays at the airport on Tuesday afternoon,
but they were a result of low clouds, he said.
The hobbled plane was towed to a hangar, Coleman said.
Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said the carrier was
cooperating with the safety probe but could not predict how long
it would take.