Southwest Airlines plane crashes

The following are significant events involving the airline or its subsidiares since 1971. The numbered events are those involving at least one passenger death where the aircraft flight had a direct or indirect role, and where at least one of the dead passengers was not a stowaway, hijacker, or saboteur.

    5 March 2000; Southwest Airlines 737-300; N668SW; flight 1455; Burbank, CA: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Las Vegas to Burbank. On arrival, the aircraft overran the end of the runway after after landing, coming to rest on a street adjacent to the airport. None of the five crew members and 137 passengers were killed. Two passengers sustained serious injuries.
    NTSB accident brief

    11 August 2000; Southwest Airlines 737; flight 1763; en route from Las Vegas, NV to Salt Lake City, UT: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City when about 20 minutes before landing, a 19 year old passenger became belligerent and attempted to enter the cockpit. While being escorted back to his seat, the 19 year old attacked another passenger. A number of other passengers subdued him until the aircraft landed. After landing, the now unconscious passenger was removed from the aircraft and he died several hours later.

    The medical examiner found traces of drugs in the dead passenger's system, but listed the cause of death as suffocation. The death was classified as a homicide, but none of the passengers involved in the incident were charged with a crime. No other crew members or passengers were seriously injured or killed. Because this passenger death was due at least in part to the deliberate actions of that passenger, this does not constitute a fatal event as defined by
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    8 December 2005; Southwest Airlines 737-700; N471WN; flight 1248; Chicago, IL: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Baltimore to Chicago's Midway Airport. After landing, the crew was unable to stop the aircraft on the runway, going off the runway, through the airport's barrier fence and onto a nearby street. At some point during this event, the nose wheel collapsed. The aircraft struck at least two vehicles, with the impact causing fatal injuries to a six year old boy who was a passenger in one of the vehicles. None of the five crew members or 95 passengers were seriously injured. This was the first serious accident involving the 737-700. Because this event did not cause a passenger fatality, it is not counted as a fatal event as defined by
    NTSB final report

    13 July 2009; Southwest Airlines 737-300; N387SW; flight 2294; near Charleston, WV: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight Nashville, TN to Baltimore, MD. The aircraft lost cabin pressure about 25 minutes after takeoff, while the aircraft was passing through 35,000 feet, due to a rupture of the fuselage skin near the vertical stabilizer. The rupture created an approximate 18-inch by 12-inch flap in the skin. The crew diverted to Charleston, WV, and there were no serious injuries among the 126 passengers and five crew members. The NTSB determined that the fuselage skin failure was due to preexisting fatigue at a chemically milled step.
    NTSB factual report
    NTSB accident brief
    More about this event

    19 April 2010; Southwest Airlines 737-700; N473WN; flight 649; Burbank, CA: The airliner, with 119 passengers and a crew of five on board, nearly collided with a Cessna 172 at Burbank Airport in California. Flight 649 was inbound from Oakland to the Burbank airport (also known as Bob Hope Airport) and was landing to the east on runway 8 while the Cessna 172 had just taken off to the south from runway 15, passing over the 737 at the intersection of the two runways. The two aircraft came within 200 feet vertically and 10 feet laterally of each other at the runway intersection. At the time of the event, skies were clear with 10 miles of visibility. No one on either aircraft was injured and neither aircraft was damaged.
    Fatal midair collisions report of this event
    NTSB factual report
    NTSB accident brief

    1 April 2011; Southwest Airlines 737-300; N632SW; flight 812; near Yuma, AZ: The airliner, with 118 passengers and a crew, was on a scheduled flight from Phoenix, AZ to Sacramento, CA, when it experienced a rapid loss of cabin pressure after a rupture developed in the upper fuselage about 18 minutes after takeoff when the aircraft was climbing through 34,000 feet. After the loss of cabin pressure, the crew was able to divert to Yuma, AZ without further incident. There were no serious injuries among the 118 passengers and crew members on board. The rupture was about five feet long and about a foot wide. Because no passengers were killed, this event was not counted as a fatal event as defined by
    Additional details about this investigation
    NTSB incident report
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    Dr. Curtis Interview on BBC's The World Today
    Audio: MP3 | Video: YouTube

Bonus packing advice
When packing items that may have a high emotional value but a low financial value, like a set of bridesmaid dresses traveling to a family wedding, pack them carefully, and if possible in a carry on bag. As described in some detail in the baggage advice section of, a little bit of planning can avoid many baggage related dramas.

Southwest Airlines plane crashes -- Revised: 11 November 2015