UNITED STATES

Bird strikes send Southwest flight to Ft. Lauderdale back to Havana

Mar 6, 2023, 7:30 AM

A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Fort Lauderdale was forced to return to Havana, Cuba, on Sund...

The pilots safely returned to Havana where customers evacuated the aircraft via slides due to the observation of smoke in the cabin." (Ray Becker)

(Ray Becker)

Originally Published: 05 MAR 23 21:08 ET
Updated: 06 MAR 23 08:12 ET

(CNN) — A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Fort Lauderdale was forced to return to Havana, Cuba, on Sunday morning after reportedly experiencing bird strikes, the carrier says.

In a statement to CNN Sunday, Southwest said the plane suffered 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,” the statement 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 apologize 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,” citing the Cuban Aviation Corporation SA.

Once the plane was authorized to land back in Havana, the passengers were evacuated and were in “good condition,” Radio Rebelde said.

“CACSA indicated that the causes that originated said event are being investigated and highlighted that, at this time, the airport facility maintains its regular operations,” Radio Rebelde said.

When asked about the reported engine failures, a Southwest spokesperson told CNN the company will “review the aircraft to assess the damage but do not have additional details to share at this time.”

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Bird strikes send Southwest flight to Ft. Lauderdale back to Havana