Southwest plane diverts to small St. Louis airport

AP News
Posted: Aug 27, 2012 10:45 AM
Southwest plane diverts to small St. Louis airport

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Southwest Airlines flight scheduled to land at Lambert Airport in St. Louis instead landed at a smaller suburban airport because of a thunderstorm and a shortage of fuel, a Southwest spokeswoman said Monday.

Southwest Flight 3789 was carrying 137 passengers from Denver to St. Louis Sunday night and arrived just before 7 p.m. at the height of a thunderstorm. Airline spokeswoman Ashley Dillon said the Boeing 737 circled over Lambert but couldn't land because of the storm.

"The aircraft needed additional fuel and the captain made the decision to land" at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Dillon said. Spirit is normally used by smaller commuter jets and business planes. Chesterfield, a St. Louis suburb, is about 17 miles south of Lambert.

The Southwest jet landed without problems. No one was hurt but passengers were delayed for several hours.

Lambert spokesman Jeff Lea said Lambert sent three buses to help carry passengers and their luggage back to the larger airport. They arrived around 10 p.m., he said.

Lea confirmed there was bad weather at Lambert at the time the jet was scheduled to land. "We certainly had lightning warnings and a severe storm going through," he said.

But Lea said the airport was never closed and no other jets were diverted.

Messages seeking comment from Spirit were not returned.