The plane didn't catch on fire.
Officials couldn't say Monday evening precisely when the nose gear failed. The aircraft touched down within the first 1,000 feet of the runway, La Guardia General Manager Thomas Bosco said, and skidded off the runway into a grassy area about halfway down its 7,000-foot length.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was surveying the damage on the runway Monday night. Officials hoped to reopen the runway Tuesday morning.
The incident caused delays for dozens of flights in and out of La Guardia Airport, with delays rippling out across the country, authorities said.
Matt Lewis, 48, a software salesman from Matthews, N.C., said he was on a US Airways LCC -0.44% flight that was about to take off for Charlotte when his plane was grounded and more than a dozen other planes were brought to a dead halt in and around the runway.
"It looked like it just crumbled on impact," Mr. Lewis said of the airliner's nose landing gear.
Overall, air travel in recent years has had its strongest safety record since the dawn of the jet age. The incident at La Guardia comes after a recent cluster of high-profile commercial aviation accidents in July, including the crash of an Asiana Airlines 020560.SE +1.47% Boeing 777 that killed three in San Francisco, a fire aboard a parked and empty Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Heathrow Airport in London and a gear-up landing of a Russian Sukhoi regional jet on a test flight in Iceland on Sunday that injured one of the five aboard.
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