A Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-732 left a taxiway, descended an embankment, and sustained significant damage at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 5:00 a.m. EDT. There were no passengers on board.
The accident occurred when two mechanics from Delta TechOps were performing a scheduled static test of the aircraft's two turbo fan jet engines. The aircraft departed a taxiway, ended up nose down, and tilted at an acute angle, with considerable damage to the fuselage, port engine and undercarriage. Fire crews and airport police were immediately dispatched to attend to any more threats.
The US Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident.
The two mechanics who were working on the aircraft were not injured, and there were no injuries to personnel on the ground. The aircraft was not in service at the time of the accident, but it affected airport operations, causing delays of up to 45 minutes to several flights.
Although media reports suggested that the aircraft's hydraulic braking system failed during the routine inspection, Delta stated that these reports are inaccurate. Delta said, "We are working with the US Federal Aviation Administration to determine a cause".
Delta TechOps carries out engine and airframe maintenance and repair work on Delta’s 750 aircraft. The company also provides third party maintenance service to about 150 other operators.