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Southwest Airlines plane evades highway crash after landing at wrong airport

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Exact reason for the mishap is unclear

Boeing 737-700
Boeing 737-700

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 touched down at the wrong Missouri airport Sunday night. The flight was scheduled to arrive at Branson airport, but landed instead seven miles away at Taney County airport. The small airport isn't set up for big jets; at 3,738 feet long, its runway is just over half the length of Branson airport's. The passengers were later driven to the correct airport, but the flight remains grounded for now. Scott Schieffer, one of the flight's 124 passengers, tells Forbes contributor Grant Martin that the flight "landed very abruptly with the pilot applying the brakes very hard. We smelled burnt rubber from the stop."

CNN quotes the executive director at Branson airport as saying the plane stopped just 300 feet from the end of Taney County's short runway. It's lucky the pilot was able to bring the plane to a halt before the runway ended — at the end of the tarmac is an embankment that leads down to US Highway 65. The events that led to the mishap are unclear for now — Southwest has yet to make a statement on the incident and a spokesperson didn't have enough information to say why it had happened — but the Federal Aviation Administration has reportedly launched an investigation into the cause.