NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Federal Aviation Administration said the Boeing 737 rolled off the taxiway into the grass and got stuck while taxiing to it’s gate around 5:30 p.m. It was coming from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport.
Passengers were let off the plane via stairs, the FAA says, and bused to the terminal. The emergency slide was also deployed.
The plane stopped by the C concourse by Gate 19 near where most of the planes are de-iced. It appears a wheel either collapsed or a tire may have blown.
“We landed and we were coasting, and then we were bouncing up and down. Next thing you know, by the wing, it felt as if we were going to topple over,” said Reginald Smith Jr.
“What was great is that everyone was very quick making sure the elderly and people with disabilities were off the plane first,” Smith added.
Taylor Kennedy told News 2 it felt like a wheel was “gone or something.”
“When you land anyway, it’s rough, but it was a lot rougher than what it usually is, so you knew something wasn’t right,” she said.
Eight people were taken to TriStar Summit Medical Center, treated and released later Tuesday evening. Details on their injuries have yet to be released.
Marina Kaplan, one of the injured passengers, was on her way home to Jacksonville, Florida, from Houston, where she was receiving treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer.
She said the landing was smooth, and she even texted her husband “Landed in Nashville” before she noticed something was wrong.
“Suddenly there was this really powerful shuddering, grating, grinding noise like I’ll never forget,” said Kaplan. “Then the plane started slipping and felt like it was slipping into a ditch.”
Kaplan was injured after she slid down the emergency slide, when someone hit her from behind on their way down.
She has titanium plates in her chest, and even a trip and fall can be dangerous, so she was taken to TriStar Summit Medical Center as a precaution and released later Tuesday night.
Officials from Southwest Airlines were at the emergency room trying to coordinate flights for the injured passengers.
Southwest sent the following statement regarding the incident: “At approximately 5:30 p.m. local time, Southwest Airlines flight 31 from Houston Hobby Airport to Nashville International Airport exited the taxiway shortly after arriving into Nashville, as the airplane was approaching the gate. The 133 passengers and five Crewmembers were safely transported into the airport, and we are currently working to support their needs. The Safety of our Customers and Employees remains our primary focus.”
The FAA also said Nashville was the final destination for the majority of the passengers on Flight 31. Twenty-eight were continuing to Jacksonville, Florida.
The Nashville International Airport responded as well, saying, “We responded to a ground emergency at approximately 5:20 p.m. CT adjacent to Taxiway Tango 4 involving Southwest Flight 31. Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority emergency personnel responded to the ground emergency immediately. In addition, mutual aid partners from Metro Fire and Metro Emergency Management Services (EMS) responded. All runways are open and operational. There are currently no delays.”
The FAA arrived Tuesday night to investigate the cause.