Mud-mired airplane expected to fly again

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that got stuck The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that got stuck in mud after veering off a taxiway at Long Island MacArthur Airport was dug out using hand shovels, a front-end loader and an aircraft tug, an airport official said. (Dec. 27, 2012) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that got stuck in mud after veering off a taxiway at Long Island MacArthur Airport on Thursday was dug out using hand shovels, a front-end loader and an aircraft tug, an airport official said Friday.

The plane was pulled back onto the taxiway and towed back to a gate about 6:45 p.m. Thursday, said Inez Birbiglia, a spokeswoman for the airport in Ronkonkoma.

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The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane sustained minor damage to its landing gear and was cleared to return to service.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Paul Flaningan said the crew in control of the plane on Thursday had been taken out of service. "We do a thorough interview of the crew," he said.

Flaningan said he had no information about when the crew would be back on the flying schedule.

No one was injured in the incident Thursday. Flight 4695, bound for Tampa, Fla., left a rain-slicked taxiway as the pilot tried to make a turn while heading for a takeoff runway, the FAA said.

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