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Monday
Jan132014

Southwest Jet Makes 'Crazy' Landing at Wrong Airport

Robert Alexander/Getty Images (file photo)(BRANSON, Mo.) -- For passenger Hunter Poole, the landing of Southwest Airlines flight 4013 was "crazy."

The jet, carrying 124 passengers, landed at the wrong airport in Branson, Mo., on Sunday, seven miles away, on a runway about half the size of the intended destination.

A steep drop-off lurked beyond the Taney County Airport runway.

"[It was] very shocking when we exited the plane and saw the actual runway and how close we were to the edge of the runway," Poole told ABC News.

Passengers reported a sudden stop to the flight.  Scott Schieffer says he could smell burning rubber from the plane's tires as they came to a halt.

"The brakes were applied forcefully.  We were lurched forward a little bit.  I was glad I had my seatbelt on in that case," Schieffer told ABC News.

The pilot spoke to passengers over the intercom after the landing, trying to calm their nerves.

"People know we are here and we will be taking care of you just as soon as we can," the pilot said, as recorded by a passenger on the plane.  "Thanks again for your patience and I apologize."

Airline spokesman Brad Hawkins called the landing "uneventful," noting "all customers and crew are safe."

But the pilots now have been grounded while officials investigate the mishap that could have been disastrous, ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said.

"There is a very high propensity for a collision, especially if you've got a large airplane making this mistake into a smaller airport," Nance said.

The Boeing 737-700 took off at Chicago's Midway International Airport and was supposed to land at Branson Airport.  A relief plane later brought the passengers from the proper Branson airport onto Dallas.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio