OAN Deven Berryhill
UPDATED 11:47 AM PT – Monday, March 6, 2023
A Southwest Airlines flight from Cuba to Fort Lauderdale performed an emergency return due to an engine fire on Sunday.
Southwest flight 2923, originating out of Jose Marti International Airport en-route to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport experienced an engine fire that was reportedly caused by a bird strike.
The aircraft “experienced bird strikes to an engine and the aircraft’s nose,” the airline said in a statement.
Officials said that due to the engine fire and resulting cabin smoke, pilots were forced to perform an emergency return to Havana. They said the once the plane’s cabin filled with smoke, the emergency air masks were successfully deployed for the 147 passengers. The Southwest flight landed safely in Havana with no injuries reported.
One passenger told reporters that some on the flight used the emergency exit slides over the wings to exit the smoke filled plane.
Aviation analyst John Nance told ABC News that “bird strikes happen everyday in commercial aviation but very seldom does it require an emergency return. We like to error on the side of caution.”
Southwest officials have said that passengers from the flight were later bused back to the Havana airport terminal and sent on another Southwest flight to Fort Lauderdale.