Man Dies After Being Hit by Jet on Texas Airport Runway

Southwest Airlines planes are seen at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in July 2019. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Police have yet to release the name of a man who was killed Thursday night when he was struck by an incoming plane at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

A Southwest Airlines plane arriving from Dallas Love Field Airport landed in Austin at 8:12 p.m. Thursday.

“The Southwest aircraft maneuvered to avoid an individual who appeared on runway 17R shortly after touchdown,” the airline said in a statement.

After air traffic controllers saw what looked like a body from a tower, an airport employee found the man on the runway.

A doctor pronounced him dead at the scene at 8:41 p.m., the Austin Police Department said.

Mandy McClendon, an airport spokeswoman, declined to say Friday morning if the man worked at the airport, citing a bare-bones press release identifying him as an “unauthorized individual.”

Press photos of the airplane show a large dent in metal surrounding one of its engines.

The Federal Aviation Administration said its investigators will help the Austin Police Department determine if the airplane hit the man, but McClendon said there is no doubt that is what happened.

“When they discovered the individual on the runway it was pretty clear what had occurred. The plane had struck the individual,” McClendon told the New York Times.

Southwest Airlines said no one else was hurt in the incident.

“After receiving further instructions from controllers, the aircraft taxied to the gate where all customers and the crew deplaned the aircraft safely with no reports of onboard injuries,” it said.

Austin police had not yet released the victim’s name as of 10:45 a.m. Friday.

“We will release more information as it becomes available,” Austin police public information officer Tara Long said in an email. 

The last time a Southwest plane killed someone on the ground was December 2005 during a snowstorm in Chicago. The plane skidded off a runway at Chicago Midway International Airport into a street and hit a car, killing a 6-year-old boy inside the vehicle.  

%d bloggers like this: