The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Tuesday that it is investigating an incident about a Southwest Airlines jet that rolled off a runway and got stuck in a ditch at Nashville International Airport in Tennessee. The Boeing 737, carrying 133 passengers and five crew members, departed from Houston Hobby Airport at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said, according to local newspaper Tennessean, that the plane rolled off the taxiway T4 near the terminal. Emergency personnel, along with crew from the Nashville fire department, were immediately rushed to the spot. Bergen said that the passengers were evacuated from the plane. The Nashville fire department said, according to NBC News, that eight people were taken to TriStar Summit Medical Center, and most of them suffered minor bruises.
"The 133 passengers and five crew members were safely evacuated from the plane and bussed into the airport. Local EMS paramedics were on site to check customers and reports indicate that eight passengers were transported to a local hospital; four have been evaluated and released," the airline said in a statement. "The remaining passengers were accommodated in hotels or transported to their final destination on an alternate aircraft."
The airline added that recovery crews were reaching the site, and will work overnight to move the aircraft.
Reginald Smith Jr., who was on the plane, said, according to the Tennessean: "We landed, we were coasting and then we were bouncing up and down and the next thing you know ... it felt as if we were about to topple over as we were going into the ditch," adding: "You could feel the plane hit and stop. It was terrifying."
Despite the incident, airport officials reportedly said that all the runways were operational and that there were no delays.