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.”
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.