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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Southwest Fires 2 Pilots Over Botched Landing

August 03, 2000

BURBANK — Southwest Airlines on Wednesday fired the pilot and co-pilot of a 737 jetliner that overshot the runway during a landing at Burbank Airport in March, although company officials declined to discuss the reason for the dismissals.

"All I can do is verify that the pilots have been terminated," Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Linda Rutherford said. "We can't give any other details because the National Transportation Safety Board investigation is still pending."

The two were piloting a Southwest Airlines 737 from Las Vegas that skidded off the east-west runway, rammed through a fence and stopped just short of a gas station on Hollywood Way.

NTSB officials could not be reached for comment on the action. But investigators last March told The Times that pilot error was considered the most likely cause of the accident because the crew landed too fast or "too long"--not touching down until near the midpoint of the 6,032-foot runway.

Four of the 142 passengers and crew members were hospitalized with minor injuries. The most seriously injured was the pilot, who suffered scalp cuts.

Southwest Airlines, the seventh-largest air carrier, has not had a fatality in its 30-year history, according to company officials.

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