The National Transportation Safety Board says the nose gear of a Southwest Airlines jet collapsed backward and into the body of the aircraft following a hard landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport.
The NTSB found the landing gear "collapsed rearward and upward into the fuselage, damaging the electronics bay that houses avionics."
The agency said on its Twitter feed the plane skidded 2,175 feet before stopping at the edge of the runway Monday.
It posted a photo showing the jet's electronics bay penetrated by the landing gear with only the right axle still attached.
Investigators recovered cockpit voice recorders on Tuesday. They'll be analyzed by the NTSB.
Sixteen passengers suffered minor injuries during Flight 345's landing. The plane was coming from Nashville, Tenn.
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.
The incident came 16 days after Asiana Flight 214 crash-landed at San Francisco's international airport on July 6, killing two Chinese teenagers; a third was killed when a fire truck ran over her while responding to the crash, authorities said. Dozens of people were injured in that landing, which involved a Boeing 777 flying from South Korea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report