Southwest B733 at Nashville on Dec 15th 2015, went off taxiway

Last Update: January 24, 2017 / 14:27:02 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 15, 2015


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-300

ICAO Type Designator

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300, registration N649SW performing flight WN-31 from Houston Hobby,TX to Nashville,TN (USA) with 133 passengers and 5 crew, had safely landed on Nashville's runway 20R at 17:26L (23:36Z) and was taxiing towards the terminal about 5-10 minutes later, when close to the apron the aircraft went off taxiway T4 and came to a stop on uneven surface with the right main gear and right engine down a slope, the aircraft resting on its nose gear, left main gear, tail and right wing tip. The passengers vacated the aircraft via slides. There were 9 minor injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

Emergency services reported 8 people were taken to a medical center for checks, two of them were treated for minor injuries like bruises, one complained about chest pain, the rest was released.

The FAA confirmed the aircraft went off the taxiway, 8 passengers received unknown injuries. The FAA rated the occurrence an incident.

The airline reported the aircraft exited a taxiway after landing in Nashville, the passengers were safely transported to the terminal.

The NTSB reported they are monitoring the taxiing event, in case the examination identifies substantial damage to the aircraft and puts the occurrence into accident rating category, the NTSB is going to lead the investigation, otherwise the FAA is going to continue their investigation.

A crane lifted the aircraft out of its position the following morning, the aircraft was towed to an apron for further assessment.

The airport reported operations were unaffected, all runways remained operational throughout the event.

On Jan 15th 2016 the NTSB reported that the occurrence was rated an accident and investigation has been opened. The aircraft went off taxiway T4 into a ditch, 9 passengers sustained minor injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

On Jan 24th 2017 the NTSB released their final report concluding the probable causes of the accident were:

the flight crew's early turn towards the assigned gate because taxiway lighting had been inadvertently turned off by the controller-in-charge which resulted in the airplane leaving the paved surface.

Contributing to the accident was the operation of the screen-saver function on the lighting control panel that prevented the tower controllers from having an immediate visual reference to the status of the airfield lighting.

The NTSB provided following abstract:

The airplane landed normally on runway 20R and exited at taxiway B2. The flight crew received and understood the taxi instructions to their assigned gate. As the crew proceeded along taxiway T3, the flight crew had difficulty locating taxiway T4 as the area was dark, and there was glare from the terminal lights ahead. The crew maneuvered the airplane along T3 and onto T4, and then turned back to the right on a general heading consistent with heading across the ramp toward the assigned gate. The flight crew could not see T4 or the grassy area because the taxiway lights were off and the glare from the terminal lights. As a result, the airplane left the pavement and came to rest in a drainage ditch resulting in substantial damage to airplane. The cabin crew initially attempted to keep the passengers seated, but after being unable to contact the flight crew due to the loud alarm on the flight deck, the cabin crew properly initiated and conducted an evacuation.

As a result of past complaints regarding the brightness of the green taxiway centerline lights on taxiways H, J, L and T-6, BNA tower controllers routinely turned off the taxiway centerline lighting. Although the facility had not received any requests on the day of the accident, about 30 minutes prior to the event the tower controller in charge (CIC) turned off the centerline lights as a matter of routine. In doing so, the CIC inadvertently turned off the "TWY J & Apron 2" selector, which included the taxiway lights in the vicinity of the excursion. The airfield lighting panel screensaver feature prevented the tower controllers from having an immediate visual reference to the status of the airfield lighting.

KBNA 160153Z 18004KT 10SM CLR 12/07 A2991 RMK AO2 SLP127 T01170072
KBNA 160053Z 00000KT 10SM CLR 13/07 A2990 RMK AO2 SLP124 T01330072
KBNA 152353Z 00000KT 10SM CLR 14/07 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP122 T01440067 10200 20144 50002
KBNA 152253Z 18003KT 10SM CLR 17/07 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP121 T01670072
KBNA 152153Z 21004KT 10SM CLR 18/07 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP120 T01830067
KBNA 152053Z 00000KT 10SM CLR 19/07 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP118 T01940067 55008
KBNA 151953Z VRB03KT 10SM CLR 19/07 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP117 T01890067
KBNA 151853Z 00000KT 10SM CLR 18/06 A2990 RMK AO2 SLP121 T01830061
Aircraft Registration Data
Registration mark
Country of Registration
United States
Date of Registration
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Aircraft Model / Type
Number of Seats
ICAO Aircraft Type
Year of Manufacture
Serial Number
Aircraft Address / Mode S Code (HEX)
Engine Count
Engine Manufacturer
Engine Model
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Engine Type
Main Owner
Angdl cef hhbkqfmemmiffgqmhlillghedfgpm qbbnbcbcndjilnb beppdepqkgqAcmphAb Subscribe to unlock
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Dec 15, 2015


Flight number

Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type
Boeing 737-300

ICAO Type Designator

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