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Another Boeing Airplane Crashes in U.S.: Landing Gear Collapses

Another Boeing airplane has crash-landed, this time at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. During the landing of Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737-700, the landing gear collapsed, causing the jet’s nose to hit the ground and skid along the runway. The jet came to a stop in a grassy area off the runway.

Unlike the San Francisco International Airport crash, this jet collision did not cause an explosion or serious injuries. In fact, only 10 people (of 150 travelers) were treated for minor injuries and all have been released.

Investigators are reviewing this collision to determine how the jet’s landing gear collapsed. According to the general manager of LaGuardia Airport, there are no reports at this time that the flight crew reported pre-landing problems with the landing gear, though the pilot did tell passengers to double-check their seatbelts and those of their neighbors before the landing.

Commercial plane accidents are very rare, so to have two Boeing jet crashes in just one month is certainly extraordinary. Of course, this plane crash was very different from the plane crash in San Francisco. Investigators speculate that the San Francisco plane accident was the result of a pilot error (or at least negligence for failing to notice the plane’s low speed). This more recent plane crash, however, appears to be the result of poor maintenance or a defect in the landing gear itself.

Air travel is considered the safest form of travel — far safer than car travel — but it is still frightening for some to put their lives into a pilot’s hands (and the hands of aviation companies and airplane manufacturers). What happens when a pilot or company makes a mistake? If few people were injured, will they still be held accountable? How can we ensure that passenger safety is the top focus for all airplane companies?

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Southwest jet’s landing gear collapses on landing, injuring 10,” Tina Susman, July 22, 2013