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Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 comes extremely close to LaGuardia’s control tower during landing attempt

US jetliner makes emergency landing in Cuba after hitting birds
Source: Pixabay

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating a possible close call between Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 flight and LaGuardia’s air traffic control tower. There are concerns that the Boeing plane narrowly missed hitting the airport’s control tower, with as little as 67 feet of clearance, as reported by CBS News.

Southwest Airlines Flight Boeing 737 aircraft maneuvers and avoids hitting LaGuardia’s air traffic tower while landing, FAA investigates incident

The event happened at approximately 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. During the incident, the pilots of Southwest Flight 147 decided to abandon their initial landing attempt due to adverse weather conditions. As they were making their final approach during their second attempt to land, an air traffic controller urgently instructed the Boeing 737 pilots to “go around” and ascend to 2,000 feet.

“Go around! Go around! Fly runway heading, climb and maintain 2,000. Climb and maintain 2,000. 2,000,” the air traffic controller urgently instructed, as per a feed from

It seems the aircraft had drifted eastward and was no longer aligned with the runway. Initial flight tracking data from Flightradar24 indicated that the plane was at an altitude of 300 feet when it started to climb. The FAA stated they are investigating whether the off-course aircraft passed over the 233-foot tall air traffic control tower.

According to Flightradar24’s flight tracker map, the aircraft was positioned over the terminal building rather than the runway. It seems the plane flew over the parking garage right next to the air traffic control tower, based on Flightradar24’s estimated path.

The controller later informed the pilots that their aircraft “was not aligned with the runway at all. It was like east of final. He was not gonna land on the runway.”

Southwest Flight 147’s weather-related diversion and safe landing

Southwest Flight 147 chose to make a brief detour to Baltimore/Washington International Airport, where it landed without incident. It later proceeded to land safely in New York.

The adverse weather conditions led to other go-arounds at LaGuardia, including JetBlue Flight 698, which was attempting to land around the same time. The pilots of that flight reported experiencing wind shear. It’s uncertain if a powerful gust of wind shear caused them to deviate from their course during the landing, reported.

According to the airline, there were 147 passengers and six crew members on board the flight from Nashville. The FAA is conducting an investigation and will ascertain whether the plane passed over the tower at LaGuardia.

Southwest informed CBS News that the airline is “reviewing the event as part of our Safety systems.” The carrier mentioned that the plane encountered turbulence and low visibility while approaching LGA.


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Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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