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January 13th, 2014
05:54 AM ET

Southwest Airlines Plane Lands at Wrong Missouri Airport

Welcome to Branson, Missouri. Well, maybe not.

A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago's Midway Airport was scheduled to land at Branson Airport in southwest Missouri on Sunday night. Instead, the Boeing 737-700 touched down at Taney County airport - about seven miles away, and with a runway significantly shorter.

Authorities have launched an investigation on the mix up. But passengers were relieved the error didn't lead to something more serious.

The Taney County airport doesn't normally handle big jets. Its runway is about half the length of the Branson airport - 3,738 feet compared to 7,140 feet.

That required the pilot to do a lot of heavy braking as soon as the Boeing 737-700 touched down.

Without the firm foot on the brakes, the plane could have overshot the end of the runway, tumbled down an embankment and onto U.S. 65.

"Really happy (the) pilot applied brakes the way he did," said Scott Schieffer, one of 124 passengers aboard Flight 4013. "Who knows what would have happened?"

The plane stopped about 300 feet from the end of the runway, according to Jeff Bourk, the executive director at Branson airport.

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Filed under: Southwest Airlines