Jetliner hits and kills person as it lands at Austin airport

A Southwest Airlines jetliner hit and killed someone as it landed at Austin’s main airport Thursday night, authorities said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot of Flight 1392 reported seeing a person on the runway shortly after the Boeing 737 touched down at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 8:12 p.m. local time.

The carrier said the pilot maneuvered to try to avoid the person, whose identify wasn’t immediately released.

The driver of an airport operations vehicle subsequently reported finding the person on the runway. Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services said its personnel pronounced the person, an adult, dead at the scene.

The plane taxied to a gate, everybody got off and no one on board was hurt, Southwest said. The plane was carrying 53 passengers and five crew members, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. The aircraft had taken off from Dallas’ Love Field.

CBS News obtained a photo of the damage to plane. It shows damage to the left engine cowling, including a sizable dent on the cowling’s leading edge. A cowling is the outside housing of an engine.

Damage is seen to left engine of Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that hit and killed a person on the runway as it landed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on night of May 7, 2020. CBS News

The runway where it happened was closed as authorities investigated but a second runway was kept open so the airport could keep operating, reports CBS Austin affiliate KEYE-TV.  

Austin police told the station the dead person wasn’t dressed as an airport worker and didn’t have any identification.

The FAA said it would assist Austin police in the investigation of the incident.

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