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BREAKING NEWS. Scroll to bottom for latest updates.
Prior to midnight EST, an Ethiopian Airlines flight bound from Ethiopia to Italy declared an emergencya hijackingand flew instead to Geneva, Switzerland.
The aircraft landed safely in Geneva and there are no injuries or fatalities.
Here is what we know, owing to direct sources (live ATC conversations, live flight tracking, on-the-ground contacts at Geneva Airport):
The landing of the plane, a Boeing 737-700 carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was uneventful. It was a normal flight, with a normal, non-emergency landing, with the only difference being the 737 landed at the wrong airport.
Originally set to fly Chicago-Midway to Branson, MO, and on to Dallas-Love Field, Southwest flight 4013 instead touched down on the 3700' runway at a tiny general aviation field, M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (PLK), just outside Branson. While the crew expected the 7100' runway at Branson and a regular terminal to park and offload passengers, there was some hard braking and some tarmac wait time.
Thankfully, that was the extent of the discomfort for the 124 flyers and 5 crew, who were speedily bussed over to the correct airport to board another Southwest 737 the airline had rapidly dispatched for them.
The story can actually be seen, abridged, in the tweets of passenger Scott Schieffer (@scottdallastx):
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[Update 07/23] The runways at LGA are open again and flights are progressing normally as possibly, although keep an eye out for the plane if you're flying in, as it's still sitting where the nose collapsed.
[Update 7:30pm] Southwest has issued an updated statement regarding the incident. View it on their site (if the site is down, view screenshot). It reports there are five minor passengers and three flight attendants with injuries currently being treated. All passengers are safely in the terminal.
[Update 7:00pm] Flights departing for LaGuardia this evening will be held at their origin until 8pm at the earliest. Double-check the status of your flights and those for anyone you're due to pick up from LGA.
Around 5:45pm EST this evening, a Southwest Air Boeing 737 landed at New York's LaGuardia Airport and suffered a landing gear failure at the nose. The plane tipped forward, and the crew and passengers evacuated via the emergency slides. There were 150 people total onboard.
There was no fire or explosion.
The jet is tail number N753SW, operating as Southwest flight 345, originating in Nashville, TN. The individual plane was first delivered from Boeing to Southwest on June 10, 1999, which makes it just over 14 years old.
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There's a distinct difference between "fan" and "stan." A fan has a normal affection for a product, person, or somesuch. A stan? Well, they're different. They fall into the batshit category. They go too far. They can be dangerous.
That's how American Airlines crew could categorize the passenger they had to remove from a recent flight from LA to JFK.
A woman, obviously Whitney Houston's biggest fan, repeatedly sang her "I Will Always Love You" song for hours on end, before passengers had had enough.
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"Everyone on the bus!"
It was a nippy morning outside of Seattle and two loads of Boeing top brass and members of the press were being bussed out onto the tarmac at the airline manufacturer's Paine Field Airport. This would be the very first peek inside the shiniest airplane on the flight line before ANA/All Nippon Airways flew her away to Tokyo. The other airplanes on the tarmac, windows still blacked out and engines still unconnected, could have felt nothing but jealousy (if airplanes had feelings, that is).
This was 16 full months ago, in September 2011, when Boeing first delivered a 787 Dreamliner to a customer airline. We were there, onboard that bus, and then, later, inside that plane, running our palms over the new seat fabric and imagining the thousands of eager travelers who'd sit in each individual seat during only the first few months of service. Would they know what a special plane they were on?
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We all remember back in early November of 2010 when Qantas flight 32 was climbing out of Singapore's Changi Airport and, due to an oil leak, blew an A380 engine. The engine explosion pierced fuel tanks, created a hole in the wing and damaged wiring. Parts of the engine even rained down on a small Indonesian island as the pilot called for an emergency landing back in Singapore.
The resulting blame game was intense, between the engine manufacturer, the maintenance crews and the plane design itself.
Fast forward over 1.5 years later and the plane is still stuck in Singapore undergoing much needed repairs and a full investigation. An airplane, especially a massive A380, grounded for that long costs beaucoup bucks no airline wants to fork over, but no airline wants to risk an accident. We get it.
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From time to time planes are forced into emergency landings. Sometimes the reasons are real emergencies, like a bird strike or cracked windshield. Sometimes the reasons are still real, but are only a smell of smoke in the cabin or an unruly passenger. In all cases, the crew make the executive decision to bring the bird down in the interest of safety. In many cases, the problem is detected, rectified and the passengers are on their way with a bit of a delay. They'll be a little late, but no major dramas ensue.
Over the weekend, a Qantas aircraft had such an emergency where the crew smelled smoke on board. Naturally, alarms were raised and the captain decided to divert to an alternate airport. The Boeing 767, en route from Darwin to Brisbane, safely landed in the small outback town of Mt. Isa.
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During a flight from Singapore to Auckland, a passenger—Robert Rippingale—choked on his in-flight meal only an hour or two into the 11-hour journey. He was sitting next to his girlfriend, who initially thought he was just laughing, but soon the scene turned very serious.
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Any time Ryanair spokespeople begin to talk about following EU airline regulationsand by "following EU airline regulations" they mean "doing the absolute minimum as required by law"you know that something has gone wildly awry.
Last time we saw them being defensive like this was last year, after they stranded Canary Island-bound passengers on the entirely wrong island in the midst of a thunderstorm. The airline's excuse? That according to EU regulations they were, in terms of physical distance, close enough.
So with Ryanair spokesperson Stephen McNamara telling a Swedish newspaper that flight attendants handled a medical situation according to EU requirements, you know that the story is going to be good. And by good we mean very, awesomely bad.
Too bad the United passengers missed this action
Weird smells. In-flight drama. An emergency landing in Cuba. These three elements sound like the basis for a Weekend At Bernie's-sort of movie, but instead it was reality for 135 passengers onboard United Flight 931 this weekend, when their Washington-Dulles to Cancun, Mexico trip took a detourto Havana, Cuba.
The cause of the unscheduled stop? CNN reports: "The crew detected a burning smell, saying it was in the cockpit," and they landed the Airbus A320 on Castro's turf just to be safe.
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Some Delta passengers had something to be thankful for this holiday season as 2010 ended, as their flight had to make an emergency landing in Colorado Springs last Thursday. Obviously any landing that isn’t on the scheduled runway at the scheduled time is an emergency one, but this detour was pretty calm and orderly.
Pilots noticed a light indicating that one of their engines was probably not working like it was supposed to, so they made the decision to land in Colorado instead of Arizona. However, once safely on the ground the overheated brakes created a fire danger, so the call was made for all passengers to Steven Slater their way out of the plane and onto the runway.
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As expected with one of the busiest travel periods of the year, much travel news happened over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Luckily for everyone, the headlines focused on occurrences of nudity at airports or the lack of, as the TSA declared victoy in Opt-Out Day, even though they had turned off most of the controversial full-body scanners. There were no underwear bombs or package bombs; there were only Jaeger bombs at family tables stewn with pumpkin pie crumbs.
Alas, before getting back on track after a gluttonous weekend, let's pig out once more...on the brief news bits from the last few days: