HAVANA, Cuba, CMC – A Southwest Airlines flight that was bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida was forced to return to Havana on Sunday morning after reportedly experiencing bird strikes.
“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,” a statement from the airline said.
“The pilots safely returned to Havana where customers evacuated the aircraft via slides due to the observation of smoke in the cabin.”
Passengers and crew then took a bus to the terminal and arrangements were made for the flight to Fort Lauderdale, according to Southwest.
“We commend the swift, professional actions of our pilots and flight attendants in responding to this event. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience and have reached out to address their needs and offer support,” Southwest said in the statement.
Cuba’s state-run media Radio Rebelde said the aircraft “detected failures in one of its engines during the takeoff process.”
Once the plane was authorised to land back in Havana, the passengers were evacuated and were in “good condition,” Radio Rebelde said.
Airport officials said investigations are ongoing.