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Plane lands on runway closed for construction at El Paso International Airport

EL PASO, Texas -- Friday the FAA confirmed to KFOX14 it is now investigating an incident which happened Saturday afternoon at the El Paso International Airport.

Eye witnesses describe it as a "near miss" when a Southwest flight from Austin landed on a runway which was closed and under construction.

The FAA said they're conducting an investigation into how this happened.

"No plane should have landed but it did," said one eyewitness.

According to the FAA, around 4 p.m. on April 11, Southwest Airlines Flight 4012 from Austin to El Paso was cleared by FAA Air Traffic Control to land on a runway which was closed for construction.

An eyewitness told KFOX14 the plane came within ten feet of equipment that was on the runway and workers who were neaby.

"It was close, it was really close," said a source.

Workers, who had been on the runway at various times throughout the day.

"It could have been disastrous. People were working there and that plane shouldn't have landed," said an eyewitness.

But Friday, the FAA claimed no workers or equipment were on the runway surface at the time of the landing.

The runway was scheduled to be closed on from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day.

According to the FAA, the El Paso Airport did file all the necessary and the correct notifications to air carriers and pilots related to the runway closure.

The FAA is investigating why an air traffic controller gave the plane permission to land on that runway.

The plane landed safely in what otherwise could have been a catastrophic event.

The FAA released this statement about the incident:

"On Saturday, April 11, 2015 at approximately 3:50 p.m., Southwest Airlines flight 4012 from Austin to El Paso was cleared by FAA Air Traffic Control to land on a closed runway at El Paso International Airport. Flight 4012 landed without incident on runway 26L; no workers or equipment were on the runway surface at the time of the landing. Runway 26L was scheduled for a closure on Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for FAA construction-related activities. El Paso Airport filed required notifications to air carriers and pilots related to the runway closure in compliance with FAA regulations. The FAA is conducting an investigation into the incident."

KFOX14 will bring you updates on this story as they become available.

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