Event Details

Title:Assault on flight attendant and self-evacuation, Boeing 737-500, May 20, 2000
Micro summary:This Boeing 737-500 experienced an unruly passenger who assaulted a flight attendant and evacuated the aircraft following delays after landing.
Event Time:2000-05-20 at 2010 CDT
File Name:2000-05-20-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:MIA00LA169
Site of event:Nashville, TN
Destination:Nashville International Airport, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 737-500
Flight Phase:Taxi
Operator(s):Southwest Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:1
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:

NTSB short summary:

The passenger's onboard disturbance and self-evacuation from the parked aircraft, resulting in injuries. A factor in the accident was the lack of backup electrical power to the terminal which necessitated a lengthy ground hold.

NTSB synopsis:

The Nashville International Airport terminal sustained a complete electrical power outage due to transiting thunderstorms and lightning. Main terminal lighting and jetway power was interrupted for about 1 hour 30 minutes. During that time, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-500 cleared the runway after landing, and the pilot taxied to the parking ramp to await the arrival of portable airstairs. After about an hour delay, a passenger left his seat, assaulted a flight attendant, and jumped out of the aft cabin passenger-loading door. He sustained a fracture of the left wrist, and was picked up and transported to a medical clinic by the airport police.

NTSB factual narrative text:

On May 19, 2000, about 2010 central daylight time, a Boeing 737-500, N522SW, registered to and operated by Southwest Airlines, Co., as a Title 14 CFR Part 121 scheduled passenger flight, flight number 1857, sustained a serious ground injury to a passenger during a ramp hold due to a weather induced terminal power outage at Nashville International Airport, Nashville, Tennessee. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight plan had been filed. The ATP-rated pilot, copilot, and cabin crew, as well as 121 other passengers, were not injured. The flight arrival was about 1 hour into the ramp hold when the mishap occurred.

According to the PIC, as the flight cleared the runway after landing, ground control informed the crew of the power outage, and they taxied to an area of the ramp about 100 yards from the terminal to await the arrival of portable airstairs. He shut down engines, started the APU, powered an air conditioning pack for passenger comfort, and informed them of the delay. One of the waiting aircraft crew communicated with company ramp personnel by cell phone and kept the other crews informed of passenger unloading planning via aircraft radio. The PIC continued to relay updated information to his passengers, and requested that the front and a rear-loading door be slightly opened to expedite cabin ventilation.

According to the flight attendant stationed at the aft cabin-loading door where the mishap occurred, the passenger left his assigned seat, walked to her location, and told her he needed some air. She directed him to reseat himself three separate times, the third of which he pushed her against the bulkhead, grabbed her hair, opened the slightly ajar door, and jumped to the tarmac. She was able to free herself from his grip and remain aboard. The passenger was observed to begin using his cell phone while wandering around the airport ramp until an airport police cruiser picked him up.

According to a Nashville Airport Department of Public Safety report, the passenger was transported to a medical clinic where he was diagnosed with a compound fracture of the left wrist.

According to a manager of airport operations for the Nashville International Airport, records show that a lightning strike knocked out the primary feeder of electrical power from the Nashville power company. A secondary terminal power feeder from the power company was rendered inoperative by an automobile accident close to the airport at about the same time frame. The terminal is divided into three zones for backup emergency power distribution, and the main terminal zone that powers the airstairs, lights, and doors for Southwest Airlines could not be powered due to a malfunctioning transfer switch. Airport workers got the switch to operate about 2130, and the transfer switch was replaced by an electrical contractor the next morning.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Evacuation
Operations - Terrorism/Violence
Consequence - Flight Attendant Fatality - Injury


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