NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Federal authorities are investigating how a jetliner carrying more than 160 people landed on a taxiway instead of an adjacent runway at Newark’s Liberty Airport.

No one was injured when the Continental flight from Orlando, Fla., landed in the wrong place Saturday night. Taxiways often have planes, vehicles or personnel on them.

The Boeing 757-200 should have landed on the shortest of the airport’s three runways, but it instead touched down on a taxiway parallel to the runway, said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA had not interviewed the pilot and co-pilot as of Tuesday, but Continental Airlines Inc. said both pilots had been grounded.

“The pilots have been temporarily removed from flying duties and are assisting the company in analyzing the incident,” Continental spokeswoman Mary Clark said.

All navigational equipment and lights at the airport were working at the time, Peters said. The runways are edged in white lights, and have white lights down the center, while taxiways are bordered by blue lights, and have green lights down the center.

“It could have been ugly, God forbid,” Russ Halleran, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association local at the airport, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Tuesday’s editions. “Pretty lucky. Overall, that’s how we have to look at it.”

Newark Liberty International Airport is one of three major airports serving the New York City area.


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