Ten passengers were treated at the scene, with six being taken to a hospital with minor injuries, said Thomas Bosco, Acting Director of Aviation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the area airports. The six crew members were taken to another hospital for observation.
Dallas-based Southwest said there were 150 people on Flight 345 coming Nashville, Tenn., while the Port Authority said the total was 149.
Bosco said the nose gear of the plane collapsed when it landed at 5:40 p.m., and “the aircraft skidded down the runway on its nose and then veered off and came to rest in the grass area.”
Bosco said there was no advance warning of any possible problem before the landing.
Emergency crews were seen spraying foam toward the front end of the plane on the tarmac. The Port Authority said the passengers exited the plane by using chutes.
The airport was temporarily closed, but one of two runways was operating shortly after 7 p.m., and Bosco said the Port Authority was hoping to have the airport fully open by this morning.
The FAA is investigating, as is the National Transportation Safety Board.
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.”