Branson, Mo. (USA TODAY) -- A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago bound for Branson, Mo.,
landed safely at a different nearby airport, the airline confirmed
Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said Flight 4013
from Midway landed safely and without incident at M. Graham Clark-Taney
County Airport, which goes by the three-letter airport code PLK, instead
of as scheduled at Branson Airport, BKG, a short distance away.
The Boeing 737-700 carried 124 passengers and a crew of five, the airline said.
ground crew from the Branson airport has arrived at the airport to take
care of our customers and their baggage,'' Hawkins said. "The landing
was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe.''
said he had no explanation for why the jet landed at the county-owned
airport, which primarily serves charter, corporate and general aviation
flights. It was originally developed by the College of the Ozarks.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the FAA is investigating the incident.
The flight was scheduled to go from Chicago to Branson, and then on to Dallas.
Bourk, executive director of the Branson Airport, said passengers were
brought by bus to the correct airport, and Southwest brought in another
aircraft for those traveling on to Dallas.
"It didn't sound like a
typical plane," said Jeff Engel, a Branson teacher who lives less than a
mile from the Taney airport. He said the plane sounded louder than what
he was accustomed to hearing there.
"I wasn't concerned about any
danger. My dog perked up and I thought it was unusual," he said. "Now
it's kind of scary. You don't know what's going on."
Engel said he
typically hears smaller planes landing and taking off at the airport.
It is about eight miles north of the larger Branson Airport in
The M. Graham Clark Airport started as a dirt
runway in the late 1960s. The longest of the two asphalt runways there
is 3,738 feet.. At the commercial Branson airport, the concrete runway
is more than 7,000 feet in length.
In December, Southwest Airlines
announced it will cease operations at the Branson Airport in June after
serving the airport for about 15 months.
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