Person Struck & Killed By Southwest 737 In Austin

Filed Under: Southwest

This is a sad and strange story.

As reported by KXAN, last night a person was struck by a plane landing at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

On Thursday night Southwest Airlines flight 1392, operated by a Boeing 737-700, was flying from Dallas to Austin. Upon landing on runway 17R at around 8:12PM the plane struck and killed a person on the runway.

Austin-Travis County EMS declared the person dead at the scene. The runway remained closed as authorities investigated exactly what happened. The person who was killed wasn’t wearing a uniform, and also didn’t have an ID.

Here’s the ATC audio from the incident (which is rather chilling when you consider what really happened):

Here’s the FAA’s statement regarding the incident:

“The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a pedestrian fatality on a runway at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas.

According to preliminary information, the pilot of Southwest Airlines Flight 1392 reported seeing a person on Runway 17-Right, shortly after the Boeing 737 touched down at 8:12 p.m. Central Time on Thursday.

The driver of an Airport Operations vehicle subsequently reported finding the victim on the runway. FAA investigators are on their way to the site and will assist the Austin Police Department and other officials in determining whether the aircraft struck the victim.

Please contact the Austin Police Department and the Austin Aviation Department for additional information about the victim and the operating status of the airport.”

Then here’s Southwest’s statement regarding the incident:

“Southwest flight #1392 arrived safely this evening at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) after being cleared to land on runway 17R.

The Southwest aircraft maneuvered to avoid an individual who became visible on runway 17R shortly after touchdown.

The aircraft quickly came to a safe stop, and the Pilots reported the event to local air traffic controllers.

After receiving further instructions from controllers, the aircraft taxied to a gate where all Customers and Crew deplaned the aircraft safely with no reports of onboard injuries.

Tonight’s flight landed at 8:12 p.m. CDT, after arriving from Dallas Love Field (DAL).

Southwest is fully cooperating with local law enforcement and FAA as those agencies investigate the event.

We sincerely thank our Crew for their professionalism and swift response.”

Bottom line

What a strange and sad incident. It sure seems like this wasn’t the fault of the crew, as an unauthorized person somehow got on the runway. I’m curious what an investigation reveals, since it’s not often you hear of people sneaking into the secure areas of airports, let alone then being struck by a landing plane.

Very sad…

Comments
  1. Austin’s motto is “Keep Austin weird”. I guess this guy was just trying to do his part.

    Interesting to see his toxicology report – Austin is full of druggies

  2. Doesn’t sound like the plane struck them? Maybe they were not alive when the plane landed.

  3. @david: yes, there should be a toxicology report on that one…… some people are not meant for this earth. Very sad.

  4. I agree there should be a toxicology report, however it can be harder for a drunk person to climb over a chain link fence to access the airfield. Perhaps the person was impaired by drugs.

  5. Huge security breach. This just shows how hopeless many airports are regarding security.

  6. @Donato

    It could be an unauthorized runway access by person with proper credentials.
    A ramp worker might decide to play chicken with a 737.

  7. It’s very common for people to commit suicide by jumping in front of trains. Perhaps this unfortunate person chose a plane?

  8. ” It sure seems like this wasn’t the fault of the crew,”

    Is this now going to be a new landing checklist item. “Person on runway”. The fact that you would even think that the crew would be faulted for this.

    Initially the pilot indicated “on the road”…

  9. @Eskimo
    You might be right, if the person had some reason to be there at that time. There could have been an inspection or maintenance issue going on and somebody dropped the ball.
    Alternatively, unauthorized runway access by person with proper credentials might be a huge security issue.


  10. Doesn’t sound like the plane struck them? Maybe they were not alive when the plane landed.

    The photo of the plane I saw late last night (on west coast time) showed damage to one of the engines (the outer covering was dented pretty good).

  11. According to airport staff, it was a homeless person who’d hopped the fence. KAUS is adjacent to a large homeless camp, and it’s not entirely uncommon (even dating back to the days that KAUS was Bergstrom Air Force Base) for the homeless to end up inside the perimeter.

    Unfortunately, the City of Austin likely won’t report it as anything more than “a troubled individual” since saying the person was homeless wouldn’t fit our City Council’s narrative…

  12. @Maxell

    Thats hilarious!!!
    Its a sad story but the Austin (SXSW festival) + Southwest airlines + Cary Grant running from a plane on the runway in north x northwest PUN = gold!!!
    kudos

  13. When I was a teen friends and I would get stoned and go over the airport fence at Rochester NY. Thought it was great fun to lay along the edge of the runway night time as a jet landed. It’s a miracle I’m here collecting my social security pension. We did three or four times until one night we say many flashing lights headed our way and skedaddled.

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