Smoke trails plane as it skids to stop in emergency landing

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A small commercial airliner with 43 people aboard trailed smoke as it skidded along a runway at Los Angeles International Airport after its landing gear failed to fully drop down Monday morning, but passengers said the touchdown did not feel that rough.

Nobody was hurt during the emergency landing by SkyWest Airlines Flight 5316, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

"It was an incredibly smooth landing. I would say it was actually smoother than some of the landings that I've had with all of the landing gear down. So, really, kudos to the pilot," passenger Traci Reid told Los Angeles news station KABC-TV.

Travelers said the pilot told them to assume the crash position — leaning forward with their hands over their heads — and to brace themselves.

The plane's left main landing gear failed to extend as the Bombardier CRJ100 arrived from Monterey, California, Gregor said. Smoke and sparks could be seen coming from the left side of the aircraft as it dragged along the runway and skidded to a stop. But there was no fire, officials said.

"There was one person who was a little bit upset, but it was very, very calm, and it happened very fast," passenger Dennis Thanasse told the TV station. "There was no time to panic."

Passengers said everybody on the plane burst into applause when the plane stopped safely.

Emergency responders checked the 40 passengers and three crew members as they filed down a staircase and into buses, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said.

"I'm sure I was like everybody else ... all I was doing was thinking of my family, my kids," passenger Jason Spence told the station. "So, just happy to be here."

Thirty-one of the passengers got on connecting flights, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said in a statement. The landing led four other flights at LAX to be delayed, one to be diverted and one to be canceled, Castles said.

The plane, operating for SkyWest partner United Express, took off from Monterey around 7:15 a.m. and landed at LAX shortly after 8:30 a.m. The runway reopened seven hours later after the plane was towed away.

Mechanics will inspect the aircraft to determine what may have caused the problem, SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow said.

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