The Boeing 737-700 aircraft which operated as Southwest Airlines flight 4013 and carried 124 passengers and five members of the flight crew from Midway Airport in Chicago landed safely at Taney County Airport in Missouri earlier this evening — which is also known as M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport — but the aircraft was supposed to land at Branson airport several miles away.
Although the aircraft landed without incident, it reportedly stopped short just yards from the edge of a cliff just beyond the end of the runway, as the terrain is hilly in this part of Missouri.
No injuries or fatalities were reported in this incident.
“Our ground crew from the Branson airport has arrived at the airport to take care of our Customers and their baggage”, according to an official statement released from a representative of Southwest Airlines. “The landing was uneventful, and all Customers and Crew are safe.”
Passengers were reportedly transported by shuttle to Branson Airport — at which Southwest Airlines is expected to cease operations as of June of 2014, according to an announcement last month. By that time, Southwest Airlines will have served Branson Airport for approximately 15 months.
The aircraft is now stranded at the small airport in Taney County, which has a runway whose length is 3,700 feet — considered too short for the Boeing 737-700 aircraft to depart successfully. However, the task may not be impossible: a Boeing 747 “Dreamlifter” cargo aircraft which operated as Atlas Air flight 4241 from New York mistakenly landed at Colonel James Jabara Airport in Wichita back in November of 2013 instead of the intended destination of McConnell Air Force Base a few miles away — yet it departed from the small airport successfully the next day despite the runway being considered too short for an aircraft of that size to successfully depart.
An investigation into this incident is reportedly currently under way.