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Jet nose cone caves in mid-flight

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(CNN) -- Northwest Airlines is investigating why the nose cone on one of its planes caved in on a flight Sunday from Detroit, Michigan, to Tampa, Florida, a spokeswoman said Sunday.

Northwest Airlines called the damage a "minor maintenance issue" and a "very rare occurrence."

Northwest Flight 478 landed in Tampa, Florida, at 2:30 p.m. as scheduled, a spokeswoman said.

The damage to the plane occurred during the flight, but didn't affect Flight 478's scheduled 2:30 p.m. landing in Tampa, Florida, said Northwest spokeswoman Kristin Baur.

Baur, who called the damage a "minor maintenance issue" and a "very rare occurrence" said all 182 passengers on board arrived in Tampa safely.

Pictures sold to CNN by a passenger awaiting the plane's next leg, to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, show the nose cone bashed in. Instead of continuing on, the plane was towed away, said the passenger, who was still waiting for a plane five hours later.

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