A Southwest Airlines plane bound for Fort Lauderdale from Havana was forced to make an emergency landing at Cuba’s Jose Marti Airport on Sunday after an engine reportedly caught fire following a bird strike, causing chaos and terror for the passengers inside.
Mobile phone footage showed smoke filling the cabin of the Boeing 737 as panicked adults desperately beat the roof to try to deliver oxygen masks, with parents trying to teach their children how to put the masks on their faces. places.
Video shows passengers on the 11:50 am flight audibly wondering what is going on and at least one adult and one child can be heard crying. One passenger described the ordeal as a huge bang.
The plane’s emergency lights were on and footage showed customers evacuating the plane down emergency slides on the runway of Cuba’s largest airport, while firefighters and trucks watched after the female pilot was able to make the landing.
Outside, on the ground at the airport after the emergency return to Marti Airport, people can be seen walking down the runway together, with a seated woman, all trying to clear the air.
A Southwest Airlines plane bound for Fort Lauderdale from Havana was forced to return to Cuba’s Jose Marti Airport on Sunday after an engine reportedly caught fire, causing chaos and terror for passengers inside, after a bird strike
The plane’s emergency lights were on and footage showed customers evacuating the plane down emergency slides on the runway of Cuba’s largest airport as firefighters and trucks watched
Steven Rodriguez, a passenger on the flight, compared the sound before the smoke appeared as “like a big bang, a big explosion.”
A spokesman for Southwest Airlines has since confirmed the incident.
“Southwest Flight #3923, which departed Havana, Cuba, for Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday morning, reportedly suffered bird strikes with an engine and the aircraft’s nose shortly after takeoff,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“We commend the prompt, 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 provide support,” Southwest added.
Rodriguez claimed that the little safety precautions, such as masks, available to passengers were of little use.
“People started taking matters into their own hands and violently banging on the roof to throw the masks off,” Rodriguez said. NBC6. “And people had bloody knuckles and everything because they hit the roof. There were small children on the plane and older women.’
None of the 147 passengers and six crew members were injured and passengers were able to disembark safely at Marti Airport.
The captain received praise and applause from travelers when he was able to land the plane.
A passenger on the flight compared the sound before the smoke appeared as “like a big bang, a big explosion.”
Passenger Steven Rodriguez claimed that the little safety precautions, such as masks, available to passengers during the chaos were of little use
Passengers see how to use the emergency slides in this video shot from coverage of the landing
“The female captain was incredible,” said Jorge Montesino. “With only one engine, the left engine, she was able to turn the plane around and land safely.”
However, passengers like Rodriguez had to fear for their lives.
“Honestly, I thought it was my time to go,” he said. “I was terrified.”
Radio Rebelde, Cuba’s state-run media outlet, said the country’s aviation department blamed the attacks on “defects discovered in one of its engines during takeoff.”
“CACSA indicated that the causes of the said event are under investigation and stressed that the airport facility is currently maintaining its regular operations,” Radio Rebelde said.
Southwest Airlines would not confirm an engine failure, but did disclose it CNN that the company will “assess the aircraft to assess damage, but has no additional details to share at this time.”
They said customers and crew would be given alternate accommodations to get to Fort Lauderdale, most of which were booked for Monday morning.