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VIDEO: Southwest Airlines flight makes emergency landing in Cuba after hitting bird

A video uploaded by one of the passengers to social media shows the cabin filling up with smoke after the incident

Southwest airlines
Southwest airlines | Shutterstock

March 6, 2023 5:44am

Updated: March 6, 2023 10:13am

A Fort Lauderdale-bound Southwest Airlines flight was forced to return to Havana, Cuba on Sunday after it hit a bird, causing the cabin to fill up with smoke. 

“Southwest flight #3923 departing Havana, Cuba, for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday morning reportedly experienced bird strikes to an engine and the aircraft’s nose shortly after takeoff,” the airline said in a statement.

“The pilots safely returned to Havana where customers evacuated the aircraft via slides due to the observation of smoke in the cabin,” it added.

The airline did not detail the issues that the “bird strike” caused in the airplane. However, a video uploaded by one of the passengers to social media shows the cabin filling up with smoke. 

“I felt a jolt and heard what sounded like an explosion,” said one of the passengers. “I looked out the window and I saw the engine on fire.”

“Like a big boom. Like an explosion," passenger Steven Rodriguez told NBC 6.

“To be honest, I thought it was my time to go," Rodriguez said. "I was terrified.”

The passengers evacuated the place using an inflatable slide. They were then bussed to the terminal and placed on another flight to Fort Lauderdale, according to the Dallas, Texas-based airline. 

“We commend the swift, professional actions of our pilots and flight attendants in responding to this event. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and have reached out to address their needs and offer support,” Southwest said in the statement.