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High winds lead to aborted landing at KCI

Updated: 2014-01-22T15:10:54Z

By MATT CAMPBELL

The Kansas City Star

A Southwest Airlines flight attempting to land at Kansas City International Airport on Monday night had to abort just before hitting the runway, apparently because of strong winds, causing fear and confusion among those on board, according to passengers.

“I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles in my life and that was a first for me,” Kansas City area political consultant Steve Glorioso said in an email to The Star. “It scared the heck out of many of the passengers as at first it did not seem the plane had enough thrust to get back up in the air and we were way past the halfway mark of the runway.”

Another passenger reported at least one person vomited and another burst into tears.

“The weird thing was throughout the whole incident, the pilot never got on (the intercom) and said anything,” said Tasha Fabela-Jonas, a page designer with The Kansas City Star who was also on the plane from New Orleans. “The flight attendants never said there was anything wrong or why we were going back up in the air.”

Southwest Airlines did not respond to inquiries Tuesday night.

Flight 2768, a Boeing 737-700, was scheduled to land in Kansas City at 6:50 p.m. Monday. National Weather Service records indicate the wind at KCI at 6:53 p.m. was from the northwest at 29 mph with gusts up to 51 mph.

Fabela-Jonas, who was siting in the back row with her husband, said the plane was full and the passengers were informed by the cockpit before the approach that it might be a bumpy ride because of high winds.

“As the plane was dropping, you felt like you were on a roller coaster,” she said. “The plane was kind of going side to side. We thought we were going to land, but before we knew it the plane started going back up in the air.”

After circling the airport the plane made another approach, with the wings again pitching from side to side, before safely landing about 7 p.m.

Fabela-Jonas said the passengers applauded and one woman shouted, “Everybody get your (expletive) out of the plane. I need a cigarette.”

To reach Matt Campbell, call 816-234-4902 or send email to mcampbell@kcstar.com.

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