A Southwest Airlines flight from Nashville to New York's Laguardia Airport touched down without its front landing gear, injuring at least eight passengers, officials said.

“The aircraft landed on runway 4 and the landing gear collapsed, the nose wheel collapsed,” Thomas Bosco, the airport's general manager, told reporters on Monday.

LaGuardia, one of the area's busiest airports, was closed for more than an hour after the Boeing 737 jet landed with its 150 passengers and crew at around 5:45 pm local time (2145 GMT).

Soon emergency vehicles surrounded the aircraft and emergency passenger exits were lowered, TV images showed. 

Port authority spokeswoman Lisa MacSpadden said those hurt during the landing suffered back and neck injuries. 

Investigation over what led to the front wheel collapse has begun. 

Passengers on the flight, meanwhile, described a rough touchdown. 

“It was just a bang and a bounce and then just a slam on the brakes and then it was a skidding feeling. You could tell they were trying to stop the plane,” Kathy Boles told CNN. “It was very clear as soon as we went down that something was really wrong.” 

Another Boeing mishap

Spokesmen for Boeing and United Technologies Corp, a unit of which made the plane's landing gear, said their companies would also probe the incident. 

Early this month a Boeing 777 operated by Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in which three people were killed and more than 150 were injured. 

Boeing's Dreamliner was grounded for three and a half months earlier this year after batteries in the plane emitted smoke and in one case caught fire. 

Last week, a Japan Airlines Co Ltd 787 returned to Boston's Logan International Airport after a mechanical indicator light came on. 

And earlier this month, a fire broke out in a Dreamliner on the ground at London's Heathrow airport.

Source: Agencies