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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Midwest Airlines Flight 210 Executes Emergency Landing at Logan International Airport

Aired December 20, 2005 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
As you may have been watching, breaking news tonight out of Boston. With a planeload of passengers on board, emergency crews down below and millions of people watching it as it happens, a pilot does what every pilot trains to do, bring a wounded airliner home and bring it home safely.

Midwest Airlines Flight 210 departed tonight from Boston, bound for Milwaukee. And, just moments ago, it landed safely back in Boston, due to a landing gear problem.

Joining me now on the phone to help us walk through this, former American Airlines pilot Jim Tilmon, who flew for more than 29 years.

Jim, you watched as this video unfolded tonight. When the plane went up, the pilot, obviously, knew soon after takeoff he had a problem. What does that tell you?

JIM TILMON, FORMER AMERICAN AIRLINES PILOT: Well, it tells me that the systems all worked like they should.

First of all, he had some indication in the cockpit to let him know that everything wasn't quite right on that right landing gear. He had two lights that I'm -- I'm told, one dealt with the landing gear door and the other one dealt with the fact that the gear itself was not in a safe operating position, either safely up or safely down.

So, that leads -- leads to a lot of concern about exactly where the gear was. So, he did everything right, as far as I'm concerned, including a very nice landing, right on the center line.

KING: A very nice landing, indeed, right on that line, as you note, with the emergency crews standing by.

We are watching it touch down again. And, right here, as the wheel hits, you begin to see sparks. He obviously knew he had a problem. What do those sparks tell you, anything at all, an obstruction in there, some sort of a mechanical problem?

TILMON: It's difficult to tell, because, I mean, that's really -- I'm puzzled by that. It could be that the strut was not fully inflated, so it dragging -- it was dragging the ground. It could be that there was some malfunction with the brakes themselves. But, you know, when I looked at a picture you had up just a little bit ago, it looked like both tires were intact. If that's the case, then, there's something else that is going on. Something else is dragging the ground of metal, and it looks, even, not only metal, but magnesium that is creating that -- those sparks.

KING: And, Jim Tilmon, put yourself in the seat. You're the pilot of this flight. Soon after takeoff, you realize, 80 or 90 passengers on board, that you have a problem. Put yourself in the seat, and what do you go through?

TILMON: Well, you have (AUDIO GAP) -- you go through there. It's -- it's -- I hate to say that it's standard, but it really is.

You have some checklists you go through. You get in touch with some authorities on the ground, experts, people at Boeing, people on -- on your own company in maintenance.

You check everything you can to see if there's anything you can do from the cockpit in flight that would correct this problem, or at least analyze it, to determine exactly what the problem is. And I -- I suppose the bottom line, for most people, is that the first thing you learn in commercial flying is that you stay calm. You slow down. You take your time. You don't rush anything.

You make good, sound decisions. You get all the information you can from every source you can and you take care of things, just like they did tonight.

KING: Jim Tilmon, I want to ask you to stand by. I want to bring into the conversation Robert Francis, the former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

That calm has 86 people, we are now told, 86 people on the ground on Midwest Airlines Flight 210, on the ground, we assume all safe, as we watch now emergency crews just checking out the plane.

Robert Francis, you were watching here live on CNN as that plane came to a peaceful landing, right on the center stripe. Your thoughts from what you saw and what you think -- what you think could have been the problem?

ROBERT FRANCIS, FORMER VICE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: Well, I -- you know, obviously -- and -- and I think, as Jim is saying, that it -- it went the way it's supposed to go when you have a problem.

But everybody is trained to deal with this kind of thing, pilots, flight attendants, airport emergency people, controllers. And -- and it's almost a textbook emergency situation that came out exactly the way you want it to come out.

I -- I think that, you know, there was an earlier report that sparks from the tail -- I suspect that the sparks that somebody thought were from the tail on takeoff were, in fact, from that same problem on the right gear. KING: And, Robert Francis, when you have a safe landing like this, in -- in some ways, a nonevent, in that everyone, we assume, on that plane is safe, because it landed so peacefully, despite those sparks, what happens from a government perspective now? Is the NTSB involved in this? Or is this an internal Midwest Airlines matter now?

FRANCIS: It kind of depends, I guess whether the NTSB wants to look at it.

And -- and it may depend on -- on what the problem with the gear was. If it's something that has been seen before and is recurring, then they are going to be more interested. If it's something that has just happened once, then they will -- they will certainly take a look at it, anyway.

KING: And, Jim Tilmon, if you're...

(CROSSTALK)

FRANCIS: It...

KING: I'm sorry.

FRANCIS: It probably won't turn into a big investigation.

KING: My apologies, Bob Francis.

Jim Tilmon, if you're still with us, tell us a bit about this aircraft. It is the Boeing 717, once a derivative now of the DC-9, Boeing having purchased McDonnell Douglas some time ago. Tell us about this airplane. It is equipped to carry about 100 people, I believe, in pretty wide use, including by Midwest Airlines, with has a small fleet of these airlines. A good safety record?

TILMON: A great safety record. And it's a great little airplane, too.

I mean, you know, a lot of people don't understand what a 717 really is. It is kind of an outgrowth of a DC-9. You remember, Boeing bought Douglas. And, when they did, they took this -- this airplane, and they did some things with it. They hung some really powerful engines on it. They made some differences here and there. It's -- it's an excellent little airplane. And it has a great track record. And all the pilots I know that fly it just love it.

KING: And, Jim, as you're landing in a situation like this, and you're not sure if that right landing gear is going to hold, what do you do differently? Do you rev one engine over the over to try to keep the right side...

TILMON: Oh, no, no, no.

What you do, you do favor that engine, that -- that -- that landing gear. You will notice that he kind of touched down on his left landing gear first, and then just gently tickled the runway with that right gear, and just feel it until you bring it down very, very slowly. And you want to slow the airplane down as much as you can, before that gear actually touches. And then, of course, that -- that gives you the best opportunity to kind of feel your way through the landing.

If that gear is weak or if it's not -- not properly down, or whatever else, you give yourself the best chances of being able to have a safe arrival.

KING: And, at what point, Jim Tilmon -- we are watching right here, again, a replay of this video, the plane just touching down, the sparks beginning.

Is there an option there for the pilot to pull up if he thinks he has a problem, or has he dumped -- exhausted too much fuel flying around to do that at this point?

TILMON: No. In this situation, I would say you are committed.

When you touch down, you're committed. And there would be no advantage in -- you know, if -- if -- if something is so wrong that -- that you feel that it's going to really be hazardous, you are not going to gain anything by going around now.

I mean, you are -- you're exacerbating the situation. You are on the ground. You're on the center line. You have got emergency equipment all over the place. And everybody is prepared for you. You are committed. You are going to stay down.

KING: And, Robert Francis, help us understand the scene here. This is runway 33-L, the longest at Boston's Logan International Airport. It runs about 10,800 feet. They obviously made the decision to bring this plane in from the southeast, perhaps because it's a longest runway, perhaps because of wind conditions. We will get that information as all this unfolds.

But tell us about what you know as we saw the Boston, the Mass Port emergency crews on the ground here, about this airport and its abilities in a situation like this.

FRANCIS: Well, Logan, as -- as I said earlier, is -- is one of the best airports, in terms of training. And they're leaders in -- in emergency response and -- and dealing with these kinds of things.

So, if you have got to have this kind of a problem, Logan is a good place to have it. As it turns out, it was not needed. But they have got very sophisticated equipment. They have got very good training. And -- and they do a lot of work with training and helping other airports.

KING: And, from what we can see so far, I cannot see, at least yet -- and we only have this one shot, of course -- but what point would they decide to bring the passengers off?

I -- from best I can tell -- and it is dark there -- I don't see any stairs brought up to either the front and there's -- in the rear of that plane, I believe there are internal stairs that drop down. What are they looking for before they make that decision? Fires?

FRANCIS: Well, I -- I -- I think that they have hitched the tug up and it looks like they're going to tow it in.

They don't particularly, unless there's -- there's some reason to be concerned, they don't particularly want to take all the passengers off the aircraft in the middle of the airfield. So, they will -- they will tow it into a gate and let the passengers get off, or maybe to a -- probably not to a gate, but to a -- to a place on -- on the ramp where passengers can be taken off on stairs.

KING: As if on cue, we see the tug beginning to pull that plane.

Jim Tilmon, what happens now? What kind of post-action debriefs and reports does a pilot have to face in this case?

KING: We are having a bit of a -- bit of a problem there with Jim Tilmon.

TILMON: Hello?

KING: Our apologies there -- a bit of problem with Jim Tilmon's audio.

TILMON: I am here.

KING: Oh, there you are, Jim. Go ahead. We couldn't hear you on the air for just a minute.

Go ahead. Tell -- what the pilot do now, once he gets the aircraft to safety?

TILMON: Well, he...

(LAUGHTER)

TILMON: He exhales.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I bet he does.

TILMON: But he -- they tow into the gate.

He probably high-fives with his -- his first officer. And -- and nobody knows that.

(LAUGHTER)

TILMON: They -- they -- they bring the airplane into the gate.

And he will stand there in the door, and -- and people will be delighted that they were flying with a first class A-team. And he will be a very proud captain. You know, these -- you only earn your money as an airline pilot about once every year, maybe sometimes every -- once every five years. The rest of the time, the job is really pretty routine. But, when you do earn your money, you really earn it. And this was one of those nights that he -- he earned not only his pay, but a martini.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Well, he may have earned a martini after he fills out all the paperwork.

Again, put yourself in the seat, 29 years a veteran of the cockpit. What are you telling the passengers at that point? Eighty- six people aboard this flight -- when the pilot realizes he has a problem, he is obviously focused, most of all, on getting the information he needs to land, but he has to comfort those people in the back of the plane.

TILMON: The -- the public address system is a tool on the airplane.

A lot of people think that it's something else. But it's actually a tool for safety. And you're trained to use it that way. And one of the things you want to make sure that you do is keep the passengers advised and in the loop about what's going on.

And you do that and -- in a calm, relaxed voice, so that they know that, in the cockpit, everything is OK. He has probably advised them about everything that has happened, given them the full knowledge of the whole situation. Prior to -- long before landing, the flight attendants have advised the passengers about what they should do to get into a brace position and everything else.

And, you know, you talk about a brace position, and a lot of people say, oh, my goodness, that must be terribly tense -- not really. It -- it's just a thing that you do, just like fasten your seat belt before landing.

It is just that you have a little bit more preparation involved. And -- and you are going to hear that calm voice from the cockpit, telling you, OK, ladies and gentlemen, hear's what we're doing now. And if there's any noise or anything else, you're going to explain what that is. In short, you know, you're -- you're going to work together with the passengers, so that it is a cooperative event, and -- and not something where that they're wondering what is going on.

KING: And, Jim Tilmon, I believe we can show our viewers a graphic of what's like to approach Logan Airport from southeast.

Again, this is Runway 33-L. You see that graphic right there.

TILMON: Yes.

KING: Land the plane for us, Jim.

TILMON: Well, on -- on -- on -- you go through the same process that you always do on these landings.

You know, you -- you get your -- your airplane in the landing configuration, your gear and your flaps where you want them. You have -- you're on their target airspeed. You're following the glide slope down. You have a nice, steady approach. You don't want anything abrupt and nothing changing, anything going back and forth. You don't want to exercise the power back and forth.

You set your power that it is just right. You are watching your side picture all the way down. And -- and you're treating this like any other landing, except for one thing. You're going to be very conscious of the fact that you want to be careful about the right landing gear. But that is the only difference in this landing and any other landing you have ever made in your life.

So, you bring it on down. You put it down gently. And you roll out, and you have a very successfully close here to this. And everybody lives happily ever after.

KING: Remarkable technological advances in the cockpits in recent years. When you're looking at your monitors, you're looking at the lights, what do you know, and what, even in the best of conditions, don't you know?

TILMON: Well, the only thing you don't know is -- it' something -- that I never heard them say that they did a flyby by the tower. But, then, again, at night, it's probably not going to be very eventful.

During the daytime, you probably do a flyby and let the tower put the glasses on it and, see, OK, what they can see about that gear, where it is at that moment. So, it's a mystery. And that's -- that's the only thing of real concern. The thing that had me concerned before they touched down, where is that gear? Is it in the middle? Is it halfway up, halfway down? Where is that gear door? What are the -- what are the conditions of the tires themselves? What's going on over there?

So, as long as you have something that's a mystery, you have a significant situation. As long as you know what is going on, it's a lot more simple.

KING: Robert Francis, help us out about Midway Airways. It used to be Midwest Express Airlines, I believe. It is based in the Midwest, probably not as familiar to most Americans. But if you live in Wisconsin, if you live in Nebraska, perhaps, you know this airline. Good safety record?

FRANCIS: You know, I really -- I really -- they don't stand out, so I -- you know, I hesitate to say.

TILMON: I can tell you that.

FRANCIS: There's certainly -- there's certainly nothing that I think of right offhand.

KING: Go ahead, Jim. Jump in.

TILMON: Well, I can tell you that they have an excellent safety record.

And their passengers are about as loyal as any passenger group I have ever heard of any place. I mean, they -- they have stuck by this airline from the very beginning. Their -- their customer service is sterling. They -- they always rank highly, in terms of the way their passengers (AUDIO GAP) that airline and the comfort they give them, the attention they give them, the pampering they give them.

So, this (AUDIO GAP) airline from the old days, you might say. And they -- they really do the job very nicely, as far as I know.

KING: And, Robert Francis, again, from your perch of the former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, you said it would be up to the NTSB, perhaps, if this is a problem that has happened once or twice or three times, if they want to investigate this. But, in terms of the passengers, as they tug this plane right now to safety, and the passengers disembark, will they be asked questions?

Tonight, obviously, the airline has their names and their contact numbers and all that. Are they of any help to this investigation tonight or will they simply be, I assume, quite relieved? Maybe they will buy that pilot a martini, as Jim noted...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: ... and then get on their way back to Milwaukee somehow.

(LAUGHTER)

FRANCIS: Yes.

I think that you will find that -- that the -- Midwest Airlines is going to be more interested in talking to the passengers and see how they feel and how they felt they were treated.

Jim made a very good point earlier. He has made -- he has made a number of good points, and I certainly would fly with him any time.

But one -- one point that he made was about staying calm and taking your time. And the other point that he made, which is extraordinarily important in a situation like this, is, when you're the captain and when you're the pilot, to make certain that you're really communicating with the passengers on a regular basis, so that they're not sitting back there wondering what is going on.

If you're saying, hey, here is what we're doing, folks, that's -- that's enormously important. And -- and I know that the passengers on the JetBlue flight appreciated that a lot.

KING: A sense of deja vu for some of our viewers tonight.

It was just back in September, September 29, I believe, that a JetBlue flight had a very similar problem. You see the JetBlue flight landing.

One advantage for this pilot -- Jim Tilmon was talking earlier about the advantage you have landing in the daytime -- sparks here -- find the landing gear was turned sideways, if my memory is correct, in this incident.

Jim Tilmon, freak coincidence that we have two of these just a short period of time apart?

TILMON: Well, you know, this was an event. It was an incident. It wasn't an accident.

And we have incidents around airports more frequently than they are reported. It just so happens that this one made the news because of a number of factors about it, but the -- the airline business is one where that the -- you're -- you're dealing with a lot of professionals, on the ground and in the air.

You have got professionals in those towers and in those -- those -- those traffic centers. And you have got professionals that are -- are dealing with the maintenance. And you have got professionals in the cockpit and professionals in the -- in the cabin.

And when you have that many pros involved, even when you have a -- a -- quote -- "incident," it turns out to be a lot more sounding like routine than and -- than the average person would imagine.

So, no -- you know, this -- this was -- this was a wonderful situation, in terms of demonstrating just how well the system works, just how well trained the crews are and on board the airplane and the people on the ground who assist them, just how good the American aviation system really is. It is number one.

KING: Gentlemen, I want to ask you both to stand by.

I want to bring into our conversation Kaye Chandler. She's a flight attendant who had an experience similar to this flight, or worse, in her case, an airliner that caught on fire.

Kaye, can you hear me?

KAYE CHANDLER, FORMER FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Yes, I can.

KING: Explain your experience. And, as you do so, explain it in the context of, if you were on this flight, Midwest Flight 210, making this emergency landing in Boston, what are you telling the passengers on board?

CHANDLER: OK.

Well, my situation was different. We were TWA Flight 843. And it was 1011. From the point the plane rotated, until we stopped out in the field and the last passenger got off, we only had two minutes and 30 minutes.

So, our situation was -- was unique. But this situation, the nice part was that the flight attendants had time to prepare for the evacuation and also get the passengers prepared. And that's what their job's all about. That's what a flight attendant is trained for.

KING: And what, specifically, do you say right out of the box to tell them, ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem; this is what I need you to do?

CHANDLER: Well, there's a few steps before that.

First off, on this flight, obviously, the pilots determined that they had an emergency situation, And they were going to make an emergency landing. So, they have their checklist. And part of it is to notify usually the lead flight attendant or the senior flight attendant, the purser.

And they would call this flight attendant up to the cabin. And the first thing the flight attendant wants to know is, how much time do we have? How much time do we have to prepare? And the captain will give as much -- much or as many details as they actually have to share, because that enables the cabin crew to better prepare for their evacuation.

Then, the lead flight attendant, or the person that has been informed, will go back, normally call the rest of the crew together. And you gather in a place basically out of passenger view, if that's possible.

And this person will explain to the rest of the co-workers what the situation is, how much time they have, and how they need to prepare. We would also have what we call -- is an emergency procedure book. And, in that book, is a list. It's a checklist that you get out. It's part of the FAA and part of the airlines' protocol, as far as safety training.

And you go through the checklist. And the most crucial, important things are at the top. And, obviously, the least important, if you have enough time, that's at the bottom.

So, you determine how much time. You also evaluate your passengers. You want to know what kind of passengers. Do you have people that may need assistance, possibly elderly people, people with some type of hearing impairment? Do you have young kids, unaccompanied children?

So, you evaluate your passengers. You start preparing the cabin. You put all things away. You lock the galleys. You lock the lavs, anything that would fly around the cabin. You start preparing for the -- the landing. And what you do...

KING: OK. Kaye, Kaye, I just want to ask...

(CROSSTALK)

CHANDLER: ... you get on the P.A., the public address system, and you start announcing and explaining to the passengers, in a calm voice and as professional as possible, what you know. You share what the captain has told you he would like shared with the passengers. And you explain what they will need to do in order to prepare for the emergency landing. And, a lot of the items are -- they can -- what they can do is make sure their seat belts are fastened. If there's small children, they, you know, sort of their seat belts, anybody else that might need help.

Any loose items around your seating item, make sure those are stowed, they're under the seat. It's not a bad idea to review the safety card. And there's a safety card in a seat pocket in front of each and every passenger.

KING: Kaye Chandler, Kaye Chandler, if I could ask you stand by just a minute, I want to recap, for any of our viewers just joining us, 21 minutes past the hour.

If you were not with us at the top of the hour, you're looking at Midwest Airlines. And you see it here, coming in on runway 33-L, 33 left, at Boston's Logan Airport, about 30 minutes ago now, landing, an emergency landing because of a problem reported with the landing gear.

Flight 210, Midwest Airways, took off from Boston, was heading to Milwaukee, but the pilot reported trouble with that landing gear. It circled for more than two hours, the pilot exhausting fuel on that plane before making this emergency landing, Midwest Air Flight 210 now pulled up to a gate now at Boston's International Airport, a textbook emergency landing, straight on the stripe.

Emergency crews were standing by. Our thanks to our Boston affiliates, including WHDH, with some remarkable work. And you see this picture here of this flight -- again, Midwest Flight 210 at the gate -- the passengers soon to be off, after what had to be a harrowing experience, but, certainly, now, glad to be back on the ground safely.

We have with us Kaye Chandler, a former flight attendant, Robert Francis, the former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and 29-year veteran pilot Jim Tilmon.

Jim, I want to come back to you at this point.

The pilot has made this landing. You were joking, somewhat, earlier that he is about to deserve himself a martini. What -- what final steps does he have to go through now?

TILMON: Well, frankly, that would be the last thing he is really going to do.

(LAUGHTER)

TILMON: I just -- I just wanted to point out the fact that it's time for him to relax a little bit.

But he has got some paperwork to fill out. He's got some questions to answer and that sort of thing, to fill in the ground personnel and management and maintenance and whatever else on what -- what's going on from his perspective in the air.

And, of course, now, they take over and they begin to inspect every little bit of -- of what's going on, on that right (AUDIO GAP) landing gear. And they kind of reconstruct this situation, so that they can determine what happened, why it happened, and what they have to do to prevent it from happening again.

And every time we have one of these incidents, we learn something else. And every time we learn something else, eventually, it works its way into our policy and our procedures and sometimes into our formal manuals that we use.

So, you know, sometimes, there's something really good that comes from an event like this that will prevent something that might be a lot worse later on, had we not had this lesson that we learned so well tonight.

KING: And, Jim, I don't want to get too far out ahead of things. Obviously, there will be an investigation.

But the pilot went up. He knew he had a problem. There were sparks sighted, according to some reports. And, obviously, he wanted to exhaust his fuel and make this landing. Based on what you see, as soon as that landing gear touches the ground with any force, the sparks start flying out. Does that give you any clue as to what the problem is in there?

TILMON: No. It really doesn't. I would hate to even think about speculating about that now, because I have a lot of questions in my mind about really what was going on.

It looked like the -- both wheels were OK. Both tires seemed to be in -- intact. So, I mean, there are some questions in my mind whether we are dealing with brakes, we are dealing with a strut problem, we are dealing with something that's hanging down and it shouldn't be. But none of these turned out to be significant or catastrophic. So, whatever it was, we don't want to have that happen again, but, obviously, it was not going to create a disaster.

KING: Do you train for this, to come in on a landing training as if you don't have landing gear?

(CROSSTALK)

TILMON: Let me tell you this. You train for everything. And, then, on the other hand, you don't train for this.

And what I mean by that is this.

KING: Right.

TILMON: You learn your aircraft well enough, so that you understand all the systems. And you understand the systems well enough so that if you're confronted with something that you have never seen before, you're able to analyze it with the help of those on the ground and come up with some solutions, even though you have never practiced that exact event before.

And if you remember the case of the United flight that landed and crashed in Sioux City, where the pilots on board had never flown a DC- 10 without hydraulics before, never practiced that before, but they learned while they were in the air how to operate the air (AUDIO GAP) so many lessons out of how the airplane functioned. They all but brought that airplane down and landed it very successfully.

And it was just the last few seconds that they (AUDIO GAP) simply because they learned so much in the air. And that event taught us a lot about future flights on that same airplane.

KING: Robert Francis, as you have been listening, from your former job as the vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board -- Jim mentioned earlier that there are a lot of incidents at airports. Not all of them are reported. I'm not trying to put you on the spot here. I know you are not at the office or anything like that.

But how common is something like this, a landing gear -- a problem involving landing gear in which there's an -- essentially a safe landing, so it is a -- after the fact, a nonevent?

FRANCIS: It's not common.

But, then again, it is not rare either. I don't know how many times this happens in a year in the U.S., but, certainly, you know, maybe there's a commercial airliner that has some kind of a gear situation once a month or -- I don't know what it is, but something like that.

It's, you know -- it is not something that's -- that's huge. When you have sparks like this, and you don't know what's happening, that's one thing. But you may have a situation where you can't retract the gear. And, then, they have to come back and land, because they can't fly with the gear down to wherever they're going.

So, let me -- let me just make one last comment. I have -- I have got to get off. But -- but I hope that people, when they're looking at this, don't say how lucky these people were, because what happened tonight was not luck. This was training. This was people knowing what they're doing in the airplane, on the ground, in the tower.

So, good fortune is sometimes there. And it's certainly nice that -- and wonderful that it turned out the way it did. But -- but it's a lot of preparation. It is a lot of resources put into making sure that -- that this happened, and not -- not a great deal of luck, some good fortune.

KING: All right, Robert Francis, if you need to go, we thank you for your expertise and your observations tonight, helping us out at CNN.

Again, if you do need to go, thank you very much, sir. Jim Tilmon, I want to come back to you on that point, in the sense that -- and our viewers, looking at this, this is Boeing 717- 200. It is a derivative, if you will, a modern version of the DC-9, the Boeing company buying McDonnell Douglas some time ago. You see a clearer daytime still photograph of it there.

Tell us, Jim Tilmon, people who have -- experienced fliers who have been on an old DC-9, looking into that cockpit, tell them the difference between the old DC-9 cockpit and today's 717.

We may have lost Jim Tilmon as well.

You're looking at pictures here, this from our affiliate WFXT, of the scene on Boston, firefighters inspecting the fuselage there of the Boeing 17, Midwest Airways Flight 210. It left Boston, headed for Milwaukee. The pilot reported a problem, circled for more than two hours, before making an emergency landing, a problem with the right landing gear.

As you see there, the gear stayed intact, strut stayed down, but sparks flying as it landed. There, obviously, will be an investigation into what happened there, but 86 people aboard this aircraft.

It came to a stop dead on the center stripe here at Boston's Logan International Airport. Runway 33-L was then towed by a tug to a gate. We assume, at this point, the passengers are deplaning -- the investigation under way, but a good-news ending to this situation.

Kaye Chandler is still with us the phone, a former flight attendant.

After the fact, you get these passengers to the ground safely, what is the job of a flight attendant at that point? Obviously, you get them off the plane. What else?

CHANDLER: Well, I -- one thing I would like to say, to the credit for passengers, I have had a few incidents where we have prepared for emergency landing.

And the passengers are normally fabulous. They stay calm. They listen to directions. And they really follow. They look for leadership. So, in this situation, because they were able to land the airplane and they didn't use the -- the slides, the passengers, obviously, deplaned fairly comfortably, as opposed to going down the slides and running all over the field.

KING: Well, Kaye, let me...

CHANDLER: Once the plane is on the ground...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Kaye, let me stop you on that point, if I could.

(CROSSTALK) KING: Kaye...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Kaye...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Kaye Chandler, I'm sorry. Let me stop you on that point.

You mentioned the passengers getting off safely. We have one of those passengers.

Joining us now on the phone, Patrick Swieskowski, was seated in seat 8-C on Flight 210.

Patrick, thank you for joining us here on CNN.

Let me just start from this simple question.

PATRICK SWIESKOWSKI, PASSENGER ON MIDWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT 210: Oh, yes.

KING: What was it like coming in to land?

SWIESKOWSKI: I mean, pretty normal.

They came on about 15 minutes beforehand and said there would be, like, emergency equipment out, and there could be some sparks. They thought the -- the doors would drop off, the landing gear holds, for some reason.

But the -- the landing was pretty normal, (INAUDIBLE) you would see a fire truck every few feet. So, yes.

KING: So, the passenger told...

(CROSSTALK)

SWIESKOWSKI: I think nothing really too out of the ordinary for that.

KING: But the pilot told you over the P.A. that he expected the doors to fall off the landing gear?

SWIESKOWSKI: Yes. Yes.

KING: Did he give you any other explanation in flight of what he thought the problem was?

SWIESKOWSKI: Well, at first, it was talk of, like, a -- just some sort of, like, sensor problem on the landing gear, an indicator issue.

KING: What was the mood on the...

SWIESKOWSKI: And I guess...

KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead. Keep going.

SWIESKOWSKI: I guess what it actually turned out to be was the bearings in the right wheel were broken and sparks were going when they were towing us in.

KING: How long after takeoff were you told that you had a problem?

SWIESKOWSKI: Pretty soon. I'd say like within 15 minutes. They mentioned there was like the indicator problem and we'd be circling for an hour and a half to burn off fuel.

KING: I think you spent close to two hours circling. What was the mood on the plane?

SWIESKOWSKI: I mean, it was -- it was pretty normal. Kind of -- kind of surprising. I guess it was scary about the landing, people were looking around at each other, kind of gauging the situation. But for the most part, people were pretty calm. I guess there was like one woman like a couple of seats ahead of me sort of upset and crying a little. Bit besides that, people took it pretty well.

KING: Tell us about the efforts to keep that mood on the plane. The pilot speaking to you, the flight attendants speaking to you?

SWIESKOWSKI: I think mainly the best thing they did for that is just try to keep us posted. As things happened. So letting us know if we had to like take another loop as they cleared out the runway or warning us when the landing gear or the flaps would be deployed so we wouldn't be too concerned by the loud noise.

KING: Are you a frequent flier, Patrick?

SWIESKOWSKI: Fairly frequent.

KING: Ever been through anything like this?

SWIESKOWSKI: No.

KING: Are you flying alone tonight or are you flying with family or friends?

SWIESKOWSKI: No. Flying alone tonight. Going back home for the holiday ice home for the holidays.

KING: Going back home for the holidays?

SWIESKOWSKI: Tomorrow at least.

KING: How did other passengers respond on the flight? You mentioned the one woman who seemed a bit nervous. Did other passengers trying to calm her down? The flight attendants try to calm her down? SWIESKOWSKI: No. The guy next to her was being helpful. But it wasn't anything too severe. As far as like being upset about it goes. And, yeah. I mean, a lot of it, like looking into this, can you believe this? Fire trucks outside there and like guys looking at the landing gear. That sort of thing.

KING: Did the pilot convey the message he believed everything was okay and doing this as out of precautionary measure or did he sound more urgent about it?

SWIESKOWSKI: I mean, it all sounded -- I mean, it sounded very professional and like, well, there's this problem but we are going to take care of it. We're going to land like don't get alarmed with the fire trucks there so there was never any panic or urgency about it. Almost like a routine sort of tone to it.

KING: And Patrick, as we speak to you, we're watching a live picture I believe from our affiliate WFXT of the scene on the ground. Obviously, inspections under way of this aircraft.

Let me ask you this question, you say you are trying to go home for the holidays, I assume many others were, as well. What has the airline told about you when you might get your bags and when you might get on your way?

SWIESKOWSKI: Oh, well, I didn't have any bags checked. I think they're having people come back at like 7:30 tomorrow morning and I don't know. I guess a new plane then.

KING: No problem at all jumping back on one of those planes?

SWIESKOWSKI: Oh, no. No. I doubt this will happen again tomorrow morning.

KING: One would certainly hope not. Patrick, anything else you care to add about the mood on the plane or the reassurance of the pilot?

SWIESKOWSKI: Not really. Part of it -- I mean, sure a lot of us watched like this like happen, I don't know, like a month ago with the other jetBlue flight so that maybe was a calming influencing on it.

KING: That's an excellent point. Patrick Swieskowski, we thank you for your time tonight, a passenger in seat 8C right there on Midwest Airways Flight 210 which made an emergency landing a little less than an hour ago now in Boston. We're going to bring in now to our coverage Paul Mueller of WLVI in Boston. Paul, where was your vantage point for this landing tonight?

PAUL MUELLER, WLVI-TV: John, good evening. Our vantage point was from outside of the terminal. But one of the photographers was able to get video of that plane landing. If you want to go ahead and roll that now, we can let the viewers at home see Midwest Airlines Flight 210. The Boeing 717 making that emergency landing here at Boston's Logan International Airport. That was just before 10:00 this evening. And as you are talking throughout the night, 86 passengers on board. Four crew members. The plane took off around 7:30 this evening bound for Milwaukee. That's when the pilot certainly after takeoff reportedly radioed the control tower saying that he was having problems with the right main landing gear. And they decided that rather than flying to Milwaukee that they would go ahead and circle Logan for about three hours to dump the fuel so that there would be a small chance of any type of explosion and when the plane did land, of course, when it did land, Mass Port officials and emergency crews on scene at the ready just in case anything would happen but it was a successful landing.

And as that passenger had just mentioned, John, this is very similar to that jetBlue scenario back on September 21st earlier this year. That Airbus A320 from Burbank to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, the pilot realized that his front running gear perpendicular to the runway. So they had to fly around and dump fuel at LAX for about three hours until that plane made a very successful landing. Again, in both cases, John, no injuries and very trained pilots making very good landings.

KING: And Paul, you are on the ground at Logan Airport. I was looking at the Mass Port Web site. It says it's 28 degrees and fair in Boston. So I assume no weather complications at all for this emergency landing.

MUELLER: No weather complications at all. Right now, John, the sky is very clear. You can see the stars out in the sky. Weather did not play an issue. Again, as you may have seen from that video, there were sparks flying out of the right main landing gear as those wheels touched runway 27-L. That was the problem. It was mechanical issue. At least that's what we're being told right now.

Of course, Midwest will probably bring in mechanics to check that out. Again, this airline started in 1984. They are based in Milwaukee. So we don't know whether they'll have the mechanics check it out - they'll probably check it out here and then bring the Boeing 717 back to Milwaukee so that it can be completely inspected. Again, the Boeing 717, 86 passengers on board. Four crew members. It can fit up to 100 but again tonight, John, safe and sound landing for all of those people on board. Certainly, some frightening hours, those three hours circling Boston. John?

KING: Paul, I assume as the plane was circling to exhaust the fuel, that word of this passed throughout the airport. What was the scene at Logan? Anything unusual? Obviously, the emergency crews responded. Any other unusual activity at the airport?

MUELLER: No. The scene was basically quiet, John. Just as if with any other large airport. JFK, LAX, Miami-International, Dallas- Fort Worth. People going about doing what they do. Getting on their flights, departures, arrivals. Everything was basically going on ahead on time until just before 10:00 this evening, Mass Port had to basically close the airport or close that area, 27-L runway for a short time. So that that plane could make the emergency landing and again, it had circled the airport for three hours. Trying to dump as much fuel as possible. So as to minimize any chance that there would be a fire when that plane landed.

KING: Any information at all from Mass Port officials that we have not been able to obtain at CNN this evening?

MUELLER: No. Basically, John, we told you as far as what we know. We told you all that we can for right now.

KING: OK. Paul, and again, to recap for any of our viewers just joining us, 38 minutes past the hour. You're watching here WLVI footage of Midwest Airways Flight 210 making an emergency landing at Boston's Logan Airport. Just about the top of the hour.

Here's another picture from another of our affiliates, our Boston affiliates doing fabulous work for us tonight, this from WFXT. The scene at the airport. Flight 210. Again, landing gear problem. The plane took off from Boston bound for Milwaukee. Eighty six passengers on board. The pilot realized he had a problem. Circled Boston for sometime. More than two hours to exhaust the fuel and watch this.

Textbook right on the center stripe. Sparks flying as the right landing gear where he had the problem hit the ground. Other than those sparks, though, a textbook landing. Emergency crews standing by, not needed in this case. We're going to go back now to Patrick Swieskowski who was on the plane in seat 8C.

Patrick, tell us about the last second when you're coming down. We are showing the video of the plane as it touches ground. You say you fly frequently enough. You know that first bounce. What was going through your mind?

SWIESKOWSKI: I mean it seemed just about the same as normal. I think on the approach I think we came in like a little lower down early than usual. But yeah. Really -- I couldn't see any sparks or really feel anything different.

KING: Now, You were in 8C. Is that an aisle seat?

SWIESKOWSKI: Yes.

KING: And were other passengers talking about what they could see out the window? Was there cheering on the plane? Sighs of relief?

SWIESKOWSKI: No. No cheering, really. Just pointing afterwards to show where the fire trucks were, that sort of thing.

KING: This is remarkably low key group on this airplane. Making an emergency landing in Boston tonight. Want to go back for viewer that didn't hear you with us earlier, just explain to our viewers once again. You're up in the air. The pilot realizes he has a problem. What is the first thing he tells the passengers? SWIESKOWSKI: He mentions there's like sensor or indicator problem with the right landing gear. And that we're going to like find out whether we're going to continue on to Milwaukee or go back to Boston. Then a few minutes later we're going to go back to Boston and we're going to spool around for a while and get down to the landing weight. Burn off some fuel. And, yeah, then right before landing, just sort of like a 15 minutes in like prep. Like, OK, we are going to land. There's going to be fire trucks out there. Doors might fall off the landing gear. Maybe they'll be sparks. That sort of thing.

KING: How much talking from the pilot and how much from the flight attendants? And if you remember, how many flight attendants on this flight?

SWIESKOWSKI: I believe there were two flight attendants. There might have been one in the back. And then, I mean, yeah. Just the periodic updates. Captain maybe came on like eight times and the flight attendants like normal warnings like stay in your seats. Once we land. Keep your seat belts on. That sort of thing.

KING: Patrick, stand with us for a moment. I want to bring into our conversation, back into the conversation, former flight attendant Kaye Chandler. Kaye, listening to Patrick Swieskowski, textbook?

CHANDLER: Pardon? Yes. I have been enjoying listening to him.

KING: Is that textbook behavior?

CHANDLER: As I said a few minutes earlier, passengers are really looking for direction. And I think passengers stay very calm in these situations. They cooperate. They look around and I think from my experience, passengers become your best partner in an evacuation because not only do they want to get out, but they want to be ready. And so, they do get prepared.

I always like to make passengers part of the solution. And I think this passenger -- this man we're talking to, he seemed sharp, alert, and he was very comfortable with the fact he may have an emergency evacuation. So the crew obviously did a good job in briefing and the passengers were prepared.

KING: And Patrick Swieskowski, let me bring you back in. Boston's Logan airport is a jetty essentially built out into Boston Harbor. Were there any special briefings about the possibility of water?

SWIESKOWSKI: No. No. Basically just stay in your seats when we land. Going to be a pretty normal landing. We have our landing gear. Like the doors might be messed up or something.

KING: So the pilot fairly confident that it would hold, he just wasn't ...

SWIESKOWSKI: Right.

KING: He believed there could be some sort of an obstruction or some sort of a problem with the gear doors, not gear itself?

SWIESKOWSKI: Yeah, yeah. Maybe -- also, maybe problems once we stopped with the gear not being completely stable if there's something in the, like, I don't know in the arm or whatever is holding up the wheel. Maybe some fear that that might collapse but ....

KING: Because of that fear, were you told to get into the brace position?

SWIESKOWSKI: Oh, no, no. No brace positions or anything. There were a few people pulling out the little safety card, though. After he gave like the little 15-minute warning.

KING: And did the flight attendants go through the drill of showing you the emergency lights were, the path to the exit door and things like that?

SWIESKOWSKI: Oh, no, no. I mean, you'd look around and see them. But, yeah. I think they didn't want to really alarm us with that sort of thing.

KING: You sound calm through this. Was it eerie flying at all flying around in the dark? With this happening at night like this. You can't see very much, you probably can't the airport below you even though you're probably circling at a relatively low altitude. Erie in the dark? Did that effect anything at all?

SWIESKOWSKI: Being up in the dark? Not really. I mean, I could lean over towards the window and look out and, you know, see the lights below or something.

KING: If ever I'm on a flight making an emergency landing, Patrick, I want someone who has your Midwestern calm on board with me. You're on ground now. As you disembark plane, we're showing live pictures of Flight 210 up at the gate now of Boston's Logan International Airport, as you were disembarking, were there conversations with the flight attendants and the pilot on board leaving or was it not until you were up the jetway?

SWIESKOWSKI: No, not really. I mean, just like saying thank you. And people who were there.

KING: The pilots standing at the cockpit door, I assume, as the passengers disembark?

SWIESKOWSKI: I don't remember him standing there. There was a fireman there. He was probably sitting down taking a little break.

KING: Sounds to me like the pilot was remarkably calm throughout this experience.

SWIESKOWSKI: Oh, yeah, yeah. Did a great job.

KING: And Patrick explain to our viewers again. You are on the ground. You are on your way home to Milwaukee for the holidays or elsewhere, connecting there? SWIESKOWSKI: Yeah. Connecting through to Des Moines.

KING: And they have told you to spend the night in Boston and you will get back on your way tomorrow?

SWIESKOWSKI: Yes.

KING: And then any of the other passengers, tell me a little bit about any of the other passengers talk to you about the experience? Any of them, were they talking to together? Inside the terminal arriving or did everyone just seem to go their way?

SWIESKOWSKI: No. Everybody just seemed to go their way. There was a little speech about people who needed a hotel. Just like go out and get on the shuttle. They would be taken care of. Come back tomorrow morning. There will be a different flight. Yeah, pretty -- I'm pretty much the only one in the terminal right now.

KING: All right. Patrick Swieskowski, thank you so much for the thoughts, a passenger on Flight 210. We want to get more now from Scott Dixon. He is a spokesman for Midwest Airways -- Midwest Airlines, excuse me. Scott, tell us what you can now that the pilot is on the ground. I assume he's had some contact with headquarters about specifically what the problem was.

SCOTT DIXON, MIDWEST AIRLINES SPOKESMAN: Well, we can't comment right now. We are going to send out a maintenance team to do a full investigation. I guess the pilot has certainly been in communication with our operations control center and but until we get a maintenance team there and fully evaluate the situation, it will be a few days before we probably know what the real answer is.

KING: I assume you have seen the video of the landing tonight?

DIXON: Yes, I did.

KING: What are your observations from watching the plane come down? Textbook landing if you will. Right on the center stripe. Remarkable job from the pilot. You see the sparks flying up from the landing gear when that happened. Does that tell you anything?

DIXON: Well, I'm not a maintenance expert so clearly we have something to check out there. Obviously the pilot did a fabulous job and the whole crew I'm sure conducted themselves professionally and fortunately it was a happy ending to this situation.

KING: Take us through the procedure. The pilot takes off. He knows fairly early on he has a problem. Obviously he is back in contact with Logan Airport to ask the tower, I assume, for permission to circle and come back, and permission to try to re-land, come back, to Logan Airport return to Logan Airport, excuse me. What's the communication to headquarters at that point? Does that come directly from the plane or does that come from the tower?

DIXON: No. It's directly from the plane back to our operations control center where we have flight dispatch professionals and maintenance professionals who will get on the radio with him and talk through what may be going on and so it's a three-way kind of conversation. Obviously, the pilot is talking to our base as well as talking to the airport and the air traffic control system in the area.

KING: Scott Dixon, spokesman for Midwest. I want you to stay with us for just a minute. But first I want to share with our viewers observations of some of the passengers on the flight after they landed back in Boston.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really the captain did a great job of keeping everyone very calm. We didn't feel a sense of urgency at all on the plane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did they tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just said that we -- basically they didn't say a whole lot. Said we were going to fly around and use up the fuel and that we may see some sparks but we may not and they don't expect wrong to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You knew that you were in a little bit of trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 15 minutes out, the pilot came on and told us that he had experienced a problem with the landing gear indicator light. It was going on and they were radioing in, I guess, to try to figure out what to do and came back on about 15 moneys later saying that we were going to stay in Boston to try to re-land here.

And, they really never indicated a problem with it but have to burn off an hour and a half worth's of fuel. That's what we did for better part of two hours then.

When we came in, we didn't, you know, assume any emergency positions. They felt everything would be fine but it came in fairly routine and said they would expect to see sparks and but they felt that the landing gear was down and safely locked.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Passengers there from the flight, Midwest Airlines Flight 210. A textbook but emergency landing at Boston's Logan International Airport about 15 minutes ago. Airline spokesman Scott Dixon still with us on the phone. After listening to those passengers, anything there jump out to you as remarkable at all?

DIXON: The passengers were certainly there, they experienced it. They certainly characterized the situation pretty well and I think I think everything was handled pretty calmly and professionally.

KING: What happens at headquarters when the pilot radios back that he has an operational problem? An indicator light on in the cockpit. Take us through what happens in your operations center in terms of, I assume, going on the computers, pull out the books, try to figure out what this could be.

DIXON: Well, that's exactly what our people do. We have got maintenance staff that are right there on call right in the operation control center and they'll begin to go through all the manuals if need be. We'll pull in the manufacturer of the aircraft and talk to them a little bit about it and get the best advice possible back to the pilot.

KING: Have you had a chance -- I assume you're already looking at the maintenance records of this specific aircraft, Boeing 717-200. Have you gone back to look at the records? Have there been any problems with this landing gear on this plane in the past at all?

DIXON: I don't have the maintenance records for this aircraft in front of me. So I can't comment on that. All I can tell you, it's a very new aircraft in our fleet.

KING: And what happens from this point out? Obviously, you have two concerns. One finding out what happened, I assume the other, concern number two, is taking care of the passengers who have been disrupted tonight. Walk us through that.

DIXON: Right. Well, we'll accommodate the passengers overnight at hotels in the Boston area and we're sending an extra aircraft out tomorrow morning to bring them back to Milwaukee and we'll get them on as safely and quickly as we can to other destinations.

KING: Scott Dixon, you still with me? I'm having interference. Are you still with me? Or did I just lose you? OK. We've lost Scott Dixon. Thanks to him for joining us. The spokesman for Midwest Airlines.

Recapping for us, Scott Dixon helping us with this event tonight at Boston's Logan International Airport. As you see there, a safe emergency landing. These live pictures provided by our affiliate, WFXT. You're looking at Midwest Airlines Flight 210, that aircraft a Boeing 717 now at the gate at Boston's Logan International Airport just about 55 minutes ago, though, it made an emergency landing. It had taken off bound for Milwaukee. The pilot reporting a problem with the right landing gear. Circling for some two hours to exhaust the fuel and then this.

Touchdown on the center stripe right there. Sparks flying from the right landing gear. Again that is the landing gear in which the pilot had reported a problem shortly after takeoff. A textbook landing with the exception of those sparks. The investigation obviously under way. Eight-six passengers on that flight. Now off the plane being kept overnight in Boston as Midwest Airlines spokesman just told us.

Aircraft being brought in to get them to their destination sometime tomorrow. Thanks to our affiliates in Boston for this. Kaye Chandler still with us on the line. A former flight attendant who herself has had some harrowing experiences like this.

Kaye Chandler, when you're in the air, you have two hours to burn essentially circling while the plane burns fuel. I assume some of the passengers started to get a little anxious, a little antsy. What is your job at that point?

CHANDLER: Well, when you have two hours that's a long time. But one thing I know the experience I had is there's gets to be a long line in front of the bathrooms. Everybody needs to get up real quick so you kind of work with the passengers in that capacity. Two hours, you have got plenty of time to prepare everybody. It's almost too much time because then you start getting involved in the personal thoughts and the what ifs.

Maybe with a little less time is kinder to an emergency evacuation. But I have to say they did a fabulous job. Any time everybody walks away, you know it's a good landing.

KING: You mentioned you get into the personal thoughts. You were on TWA Flight 843 with the problems. Explain what you mean by that. One or two passengers I assume are more distressed than others?

CHANDLER: I'm sorry. Could you repeat that?

KING: Explain what you mean by dealing with some of the personal problems. I assume in a case like ...

CHANDLER: I think if you have two hours to think about you might possibly be in a plane crash, that's a lot of time to think about the letters you didn't send. Or, you know, all the personal, the personal issues, phone call you didn't make. Or somebody, you know, just personal things. When you have very little time, you focus on the immediacy of your situation and the less time you have, many immediate the situation is obviously.

But two hours is an awful long time for these people to sit in a plane knowing that they are going to have some type of a possible emergency. Again, this is just a fabulous landing. Obviously.

KING: It certainly is. Former flight attendant Kaye Chandler, we thank you.

Again, let's show it one more time here. You see Midwest Airlines Flight 210 making an emergency landing in Boston just about an hour ago now coming down after circling two hours to exhaust the fuel. The pilot shortly after takeoff had an indicator light in the cockpit of that Boeing 717-200 jet telling him there's a problem with the right landing gear and you see the sparks flying right there from the right landing gear.

Right on the center stripe of the runway at Boston's Logan International Airport. Fire crews standing by. Not needed in this case, though. You are watching ANDERSON COOPER 360. We're going to take a short break. We'll be back with more on this developing story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Good evening again, everyone. Breaking news tonight. An emergency landing tonight at Boston's Logan International Airport. A pilot does what every pilot trains to do. A stressful yet safe landing after a landing gear problem.

While in New York, more travel woes. Millions of frozen feet and possibly a big chill for the nation's economy. We're talking about a transit strike. But however you get to work, wherever you live, this one's no walk in the park.

ANNOUNCER: After a terrible day in New York, the city and the nation brace for more. Subways and buses shut down for a strike. Millions take to the streets in freezing weather. The city and retailers lose hundreds of millions a day and shockwaves ripple across the nation. What next?

Mystery in Miami Beach, what caused this plane to break apart midair and turn into a fire ball? Tonight, 360 is live at the scene with the latest details.

And unmarried America. More and more couples, 86 million Americans, are against wedding vows, and they're not apologizing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am nobody's property. I belong to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: But what price do they pay for not tying the knot? A 360 debate.

This is ANDERSON COOPER 360, live from the CNN studios in New York. Tonight, filling in for Anderson, John King.

KING: More on that Miami plane crash, the investigation and the New York City transit strike here in just a moment.

But first, recapping a breaking news story tonight. Just a little more than an hour ago in Boston, Midwest Airlines Flight 210 bound for Milwaukee turned around, circled Boston's Logan International Airport for about two hours, then it made an emergency landing but a textbook landing at that.

The Boeing 717-200 coming in with 86 passengers onboard, again, at Boston's Logan International Airport. Again you see here. The pilot had reported a problem with the right landing gear. Circled to exhaust his fuel. Bang. Bringing it down right on the stripe. Boston's Logan International Airport, again, just a little more than an hour ago, sparks flying from the right landing gear.

That same landing gear, an indicator light in the cockpit had told them there was some problem with. After this, you'll see the plane come to a stop, fire crews on hand. Not necessary, though. It was taken by a tug into the Logan Airport.

The passengers disembarked, many of them, as they got off the plane, complimenting the safety, the calm of the pilot.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really. The captain did a great job of keeping everyone very calm. We didn't feel a sense of urgency at all on the plane.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did they tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The just said - basically, they didn't say a whole lot. They said that we were going to around and use up some of the fuel. And that we may see some sparks but we may not and that they don't expect anything wrong to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You knew that you guys were in a little bit of trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 15 minutes out the pilot came on and told us that he'd experienced a problem with a landing gear indicator light.

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