We study the instability of the flow along the accretion line in the two-dimensional Bondi-Hoyle-Lyttleton type accretion flow. By means of numerical simulations we explore the nonlinear regime of the instability, thus extending a previous work that dealt with the linear regime using the WKB approximation. In contrast to the behavior in the linear regime, in the nonlinear regime the radial and tangential modes are coupled. The radial instability, which manifests itself as large density and velocity variations on short distances, grows far beyond the linear regime. The tangential instability, on the other hand, stays in the linear regime and is dominant by long-wavelength perturbations. This results from both the influence of the radial instability and the incoming material (the material accreted onto the accretion line).