Eight people were injured when a Southwest Airlines flight veered off the runway after landing at Nashville International Airport Tuesday night.
Southwest Airlines flight 31, a Boeing 737 plane, was carrying 133 passengers and five crew members from Houston, Texas, when it suddenly went off the runway around 5:20 p.m. Pictures of the airplane on the news and in social media show the aircraft lying in a ditch, its nose planted on the ground.
Passengers aboard the plane told NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth that the flight went without a hitch until the final moments after landing.
“It was really rough. You know like when you land on a plane, it’s rough anyway when you’re going so fast? But it was like 10 times rougher than that,” one passenger told NBC 5.
“All we heard was ‘heads down! Heads down! Heads down, stay down! Heads down stay down!” the passenger told NBC 5, describing the confusion and alarm everyone on board felt when the taxiing suddenly became violently rough.
The Nashville Fire Department confirmed that eight people onboard were injured, but none of the injuries were considered serious.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials arrived at the scene Tuesday night to begin an investigation of the incident. It was not immediately clear whether the National Transportation Safety Board would also probe the accident.
Preliminary reports indicate that a blown tire or broken wheel were to blame for the accident. Some passengers who got a close look at the plane as they exited backed up those suspicions.
“We landed really hard and everything went out of control,” passenger Sarah Brann told ABC 7. “I was sitting above the wing so I could see everything that was happening. It seemed like we landed and there was a huge, loud noise. It ended up looking like the wheel had broken,” she said.