HAVANA, March 5 (Reuters) – A Southwest Airlines plane bound for Fort Lauderdale from Havana was forced to return to Cuba’s Jose Marti Airport Sunday after an engine reportedly caught fire following a bird strike, according to passenger cell phone video and media reports.
NBC 6 News in Florida reported a Southwest Airlines spokesperson had confirmed the incident.
“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 spokesperson told the television news channel.
Cell phone footage showed smoke filling the cabin as panicked parents appeared to explain to their children how to fit oxygen masks.
Emergency lighting inside the plane was lit and footage showed customers evacuating the jet via emergency slides on the runway at Cuba’s largest airport as firemen and trucks looked on.
The news report said there had been no serious injuries and that all passengers were safely on the ground in Havana.