Energy management system operators perform regular outage simulations in order to ensure secure operation of power systems. AC power flow based outage simulations are not preferred because of insufficient computational speed. Hence several outage models and computational methods providing acceptable accuracy have been developed. On the other hand, double branch outages are critical rare events which can result in cascading outages and system collapse. This paper presents a double branch outage model and formulation of the phenomena as a constrained optimization problem. Optimization problem is then solved by using differential evolution method and particle swarm optimization algorithm. The proposed algorithm is applied to IEEE test systems. Computational accuracies of differential evolution based solutions and particle swarm optimization based solutions are discussed for IEEE 30 Bus Test System and IEEE 118 Bus Test System applications. IEEE 14 Bus Test System, IEEE 30 Bus Test System, IEEE 57 Bus Test System, IEEE 118 Bus Test System and IEEE 300 Bus Test System simulation results are compared to AC load flows in terms of computational speed. Finally the performance of the proposed method is analyzed for different outage configurations. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.