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Southwest pilots switched control before LaGuardia landing: investigators

A Southwest Boeing 737 aeroplane sits on the tarmac after passengers were evacuated, at LaGuardia Airport in New York, in this photo courtes
A Southwest Boeing 737 aeroplane sits on the tarmac after passengers were evacuated, at LaGuardia Airport in New York, in this photo courtes

(Reuters) - Federal investigators found that pilots of the Southwest Airlines jet that crashlanded at New York's LaGuardia Airport in July exchanged control of the plane before landing, they said on Tuesday.

Kelly Nantel, spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board which is conducting the investigation, said the reasons for the exchange would be explored and it was too soon to tell if it was significant.

"It's not unusual, but we don't know enough about it yet to make a determination as to whether or not this particular one was unusual," Nantel said.

The NTSB said that at a point below 400 feet, the captain on the flight, who had been the monitoring pilot, took control of the plane and landed the Southwest Boeing 737.

Investigators said they had not found any "mechanical anomalies or malfunctions" at this point.

The NTSB said the Southwest jet touched down on its front landing gear, instead of its larger rear wheels, due to "stress overload" in the July 22 accident.

Southwest did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Richard Chang)

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