August 23, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal investigators say Southwest Airlines pilots who recently landed at the wrong airport in Missouri have told them they were confused by the small airport's runway lights.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday the pilots of the Boeing 737 with 124 passengers on board told investigators they saw the bright runway lights of Graham Clark Downtown Airport, located in Hollister, Mo., and mistakenly identified it as the larger Branson Airport, which is seven miles away.
NTSB said the pilots contacted the Branson control tower and were told they were 15 miles from their target. But the pilots responded they had the runway in sight. They were cleared to land.
The Downtown Airport runway is half as long as the Branson runway. The runways are oriented in a similar direction.
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