Cockpit Confusion: Plane Lands at Wrong Airport

Harrowing experience for passengers as plane attempts to land on runway that's too small.
3:00 | 01/13/14

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Transcript for Cockpit Confusion: Plane Lands at Wrong Airport
We begin this week with a moment that has everyone asking how could this happen? A big passenger jet landed at the wrong airport, screeching to a halt on a tiny runway. The right runway, miles away. Tonight, an investigation is under way. And passengers are speaking out about what they felt as the plane hit the brakes. Abc's alex perez is at the scene with the latest. Reporter: The passengers onboard southwest flight 4013. The chaos and confusion began when they felt the pilot slam on the brakes. We landed. And we stopped abruptly. Reporter: It quickly became clear there was a problem. The pilot came on and said, I'm sorry, folks, but we landed at the wrong airport. Reporter: The boeing 737, packed with 124 passengers took off from chicago's midway airport. It was supposed to land at branson airport in missouri. And the pilot was cleared to land there by the tower. But instead, he somehow landed here, seven miles away at the much smaller taney county airport. Take a look. The runways in a similar direction. But branson's runway has a overrun zone. The runway at taney county is shorter. And there's streep drop-offs at either end. That's why the pilot slammed on the brakes. The plane coming to a screeching halt before it plunged over the edge here. This could have been very, very bad. This was a runway that was never intended to take a heavy airport like a 737. It's made out of asphalt, not concrete. It's much shorter. The pilot tried to calm panicked passengers. People know we are here. And we will be taking care of you just as soon as we can. Thanks again for your patients. Again, I apologize. Reporter: A similar incident in november, when this boeing cargo jet landed at a tiny airport in wichita, kansas. The 737 finally left taney this afternoon, as authorities search for answers. The plane's black boxes have been shipped to d.C. For review. Southwest says the plane's pilot, including a 14-year veteran, has been grounded as they investigate what went wrong here.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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