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Damaged Southwest Airlines plane to be removed from LaGuardia runway

The Southwest Airlines jet whose nose gear collapsed after landing at a New York airport is being removed from the runway.

A spokesman for the agency that runs LaGuardia Airport says a crane has loaded the plane onto a flatbed. The plane will be taken to a hangar and then both the airport's runways will be back in service Tuesday morning.

The nose gear on the plane collapsed when the flight coming from Nashville, Ten.., landed at 5:40 p.m. Monday. Officials say 10 passengers were treated at the scene, and six were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Richard Strauss, who was on a nearby plane waiting to take off for Washington, said the nose of the plane was "completely down on the ground. It's something that I've never seen before. It's bizarre."

A rear stairwell or slide could be seen extending from the Southwest flight, said Strauss, who owns a Washington public relations firm. His plane, which was about 100 yards from the Southwest flight, wasn't allowed to taxi back to the gate, he said.

Bobby Abtahi, an attorney trying to catch a flight to Dallas, was watching from the terminal and heard a crowd reacting to the accident."I heard some people gasp and scream. I looked over and saw sparks flying at the front of the plane," he said.

Longtime pilot Patrick Smith, author of "Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel. Questions, Answers, and Reflections" and AskthePilot.com, said landing gear incidents are not high on the list of worries for pilots.

"It doesn't happen very often but I need to emphasize just how comparatively minor this is and how far, far down the hierarchy it is," he said. From a pilot's perspective, this is nearly a non-issue. They make for good television, but this is far down the list of nightmares for pilots."

Dallas-based Southwest says there were 150 people on board.

The airport was closed for more than an hour.

The FAA is investigating, as is the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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