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 are grateful for the prompt, professional response of our pilots as well as flight attendants to this incident. Southwest issued a statement saying that they had apologized to their customers and reached out to them to offer support and address their concerns.
Cuba's state media Radio Rebelde claimed that the aircraft detected failures in an engine during takeoff, citing Cuban Aviation Corporation SA.
Radio Rebelde reported that the plane was allowed to land in Havana once the passengers had been evacuated.
'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.'